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Varese's 'Density 21.

5': A Study in Semiological Analysis Author(s): Jean-Jacques Nattiez and Anna Barry Source: Music Analysis, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Oct., 1982), pp. 243-340 Published by: Blackwell Publishing Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/854178 Accessed: 21/06/2010 16:56
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JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ

VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5': A STUDYIN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Translated by AnnaBarry

CONTENTS Introduction I - PART I (bs 1-23) 1. The firstfive bars. 2. Digressionon musicsemiologyandthe informational approach. 3. The progression to high G (b. 17). 4. The zoneof B (bs 18-23). II - PART II (bs 2X40) 1. The percussive section(bs 2X28). 2. Vertical fallsandflights(bs 29-32). 3. The flightsof 'Density'. 4. Permutations of B, F# andA (bs 29-32). 5. The end of PartII (bs 3g40). III - PART III (bs 41-61) 1. Repriseof the opening(bs 41-43). 2. Permutations on B-D (bs 46-50). 3. The lastsegment(bs 51-61). IV - RECAPITULATION V- POIETICANALYSIS 1. The poieticproblem. 2. Melodicpoietics. 3. Harmonic poietics. VI - ESTHESICANALYSIS VII - COMPARISON OF ANALYSES
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INTRODUCTION Music analysis, as we understandit in the semiologicalperspective of does not lend itselfwell to exhausattentionto minutedetailandclarification, tive presentation. In my book on music semiology (1975), I was able to give only a few inspired examplesof my approach,and the small numberof semiologically analysespublishedin periodicalsis confined, for the most part, to parts of Dunsby for having gratefulto Jonathan works.l I am, therefore,particularly to the publication,in English, offeredto devotemanypagesof MusicAnalysis in a Frencheditionof 300 of this analysisof 'Density 21.5'. It first appeared copiesin 1975, and is long since out of print. I havemadevariouschangesin orderto correcterrors,to take into accountthe evolutionof my theoretical ideasin relationto a text now eight yearsold, and to clarifymy positionon some issues. situationof analysistoday can doubtlessbe explained The uncomfortable by the difficulty experiencedin drawingup and publishingwritten music for not comingto gripswith analyses analyses.Whenone venturesto reproach whichgo to makeit variables the detailof a workand the multipleconstituent up, one is often told that analysisprofessors,in their classes, can 'go a long way' into a work. Could music analysisbe an oral genre, or even an oral It must face the followingproblem:no analysisis truly rigorous tradition?2 of the adage elaboration unless written down (Granger),an epistemological of the analysisenablesit to be since the record volant,ssnptamanent', 'Verba checked: once it is written down, it is possible to review, criticise and go oralanalysis,the listenerhas beyondan analysis.Even with a very elaborate the physical problem of being unable to retain everything. If the teacher managesto give the impressionof having penetratedthe work deeply, the of listenerwill be left with a positive 'aura',but a cumulativeadvancement knowledgecannotbe developedon the basis of impressions. interestedin analyThe presentstudy thereforeaimsto urgemusicologists and offersthe first ratherdetailed sis to takethe time to recordtheirresearch perspective.I am gratefulto analysisof an entire work from a semiological David Lidov for having understoodthis: 'This long study is an important . . . It gives a much fullerpicturethan the latter complementto Fondements does of the scope and force of the author'smethods' (Lidov, 1977: 45). not that an oralanalysis Writtenanalysisenablesus to take in all parameters, of all cannotdo this, but it is extremelydifficultto masterthe combination in the absenceof rules, tablesand diagrams. parameters linksbetweenthe neutrallevel and This analysisis alsothe first to illustrate poieticandesthesicdimensions,thoughit in no wayclaimsto offerexhaustive of poieticand esthesicanalyses.It is not proposedto give a new presentation that it shouldsufficeto remember fromwhich I am working:3 the perspective a neutrallevel is a descriptivelevel containingthe most exhaustiveinventory in a score.The recognisable conceivably possibleof all types of configurations level is neutral because its object is to show neither the processes of
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by which the workunfolds(poietics)nor the processesof percepproduction neutralises tion (esthesics)to which it gives rise. In this sense it provisionally the poietic and esthesic dimensionsof the piece. On the other hand, the neutrallevelprovidesthe units in relationto whichpoieticandesthesicdatain SectionsV and VI will be examined. of this neutralstatusis the use, fromthe beginning Yet anotherjustification tool whichis never to the end of the study, of the neutrallevel as an analytical called into question, the partitioningof the work into units accordingto axes, that is, axes which group togetheridenticalor abstractparadigmatic equivalentunits from an explicitly stateslpoint of view. This techniqueis of the inspiredby methodssuggestedby Ruwet(1972:Ch. 4), a continuation teachingsof Jakobsonand Levi-Strauss,but it is not followed blindly: the problemsit presentsare discussedelsewhere(Nattiez 1975: 239-356). The of the methodto this sametext for a completepresentation readeris referred ology used in the neutraldescriptionof 'Density 21.5'4. The analysisproceeds'frombottomto top', thatis, fromthe smallestunits of short units. to the largest, since Varese works with the differentiation Nevertheless,largersectionsappearin the piece. As these are justifiedonly lateron, I shallbeginby giving, withoutcomment,a pictureof the hierarchic structureof 'Density'in so far as it results fromthe completeanalysis,so that the reader can see how the minutiae which are to be examinedrelate to broaderphenomena. Numbersin squarebracketsabovethe stavereferto the smallestunits. Bar numbersare unbracketed:

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I (bs 1-23) I - PART bars 1. Thefirstfive of the principles Beforegoing into the work in detail, I shall illustrate paradigmatic various the to according syntagm musical the of segmentation of 'Density': of the opening axesin an analysis Ex.1
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to a group rhythmic theme,thatis, thetraitcommon Theparadigmatic hereof two shortvaluesplusone long.6 of units,consists by twootherfactors: is reinforced (3) Butthis similarity (lower in [1] and[3], (a) the two shortvaluesforma kindof mordent upperin [5]); (b) the longvaluesarein everycasean F#. (4) Unit [5] beginson the samenotethatends[1] and[5]. ([1] between thetwosemiquavers thedifference Allthisleadsus to 'neglect' of these ([5]). The distrtbution and [3]) and the two tripletsemiquavers of the initialF's andF# of the threeunits, permits the connection elements theyaredifferent. although of the thelength to whichcanbe added of assimilation, Thesetwoexamples Withinthis class classes. whatmaybe calledequivalence finalF's, illustrate close,it is because theyarephysically of relationships: thereis a wholerange thanthe crotchet, andtripletsemiquaver the semiquaver easier to assimilate tied to dottedminimtied to tripletsemivaluequaver and the compound 'long',sincethe feelingof lengthby oppoquaver underthe samecategory, of the durational perception sitionto the two shortvaluesdoesnot prevent finalnotes. shorter) between the three(progressively differences of Ex.1:from association formaking a paradigmatic reason There is another context intoaccount, the broader pointof view,taking a widerdistributional I, II andIII.7 segments, threelarger [1], [3] and[5] initiate in twoways.In units[2], [4]and[6]canbe organised Thethreeremaining rhythmic: is essentially version A of Ex.1, the criterion Ex3
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the slur fromthe initialF to the of the semibreve: isolation paradigmatic autonomy. p-f-p alsogivetheC conspicuous C of b. 2. Thedynamics second of crotchet triplet thesecond claim onecannot speaking strictly Obviously, it, sincethey areof preceding [6a]to be longerthanthe note immediately the blockwhichtakesall parameters The totalparadigm, duration. identical to theshort-longwithregard thisanomaly willin factneutralise intoaccount, finalpitchesof [4] and [6]:C#-G. This the identical through shortpattern (pitchidentity)is variable another meansthat, in makingthe paradigm, variable. to the rhythmic in relation dominant hierarchically is thisparadigm B of Ex. 1 maybe morepertinent: layout Forthisreason of the finalnotesC#-G in all threeunits,not justtwo. on the identity based initialonlyin the C# in particular, beginto appear: Thusnewrelationships it theroleof a pivotnote.Because in [2b],[4b]and[6b],plays [2b]andcentral with unitswearedealing theG, whichendsnotonlythethree precedes always I, II and III, the F# of [2a] is not unconnected, here but also segments on G. These with the F# of [1] and delaysthe arrival paradigmatically, in Ex. 4: in the paradigm areobvious relationships melodic Ex.4
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noteto G whose evento callthe F# a kindof leading It is no exaggeration note'.In so farasthistable it a 'polar make andduration position syntagmatic canbe axisforeachnewnote,its configuration paradigmatic opensa separate of G, one lines 1 and 3 by the addition between established calledoblique, lateron.) importance a certain aboveF#.(Thisdetailwill assume semitone values rhythmic shorter Thefinalnotesof [1], [3]and[6]haveprogressively The initial tripletcrotchet). crotchet, andthe sameis truehere(semibreve, longer(triplet: progressively become notesof [2b], [4b]and [6b], however, tied to crotchet anddottedcrotchet tied to crotchet quaver dottedquaver, respectively). to legitimate A. Justasit is perfectly layout notsupersede B should Layout I, II andIII, we segments of C#-G whichconcludes therepetition emphasise G of b.2 andallthatprecedes between thecaesura mustalsotakeintoaccount of a contradiction to takeaccount of the slur.Wehave,therefore, it because choices.The neutrallevel shows, by its betweenthe two paradigmatic thenthe thatthemelodic, successively, frame in eachparametric positioning bothhavetheirownlogic;thiscanbe seenonlywhen organisation rhythmic all the By puttingtogether neutralised. areprovisionally the othervariables to becharacappears which of a principle theworkings tabulated, information of deception. theprinciple of thispiecelis revealed: teristic withtheaccent willnowbe re-examined passage Thewholeof thisopening one unit [1] of threenoteswitha chromatic progression: on the syntagmatic group by a second on G is delayed rise(F-F#Sends on a longF#;thearrival it by a to whatprecedes of threenotes(C#-F#-C#) whichis connected final witha slightlyshorter slur.A restfollows.The initialunit reappears, note, but this time goes directlyto G which,in [4], framesthe C#; here it is the C# which type (long-short-long), though,with the samerhythmic in the the motivefrom[1] returns the F# ([2]). In the samebreath, frames by C# norG, butby an E neither above,herefollowed formof [5] described notes,at Thesethree diminuendo. thefinalC#-Gmarked ([6])whichprecedes (C#-E-G, fifthchord a diminished points,outline equivalent distributionally by the E of b.5 in andcompleted by the C#-G fromb.2 onwards, suggested unitof the G in b.2, withan intermediary Thismeansof delaying exlremis). distribuThe privileged of deception. the principle threenotes,represents impression thelistener's of C#-Gin [2], [4]and[6]strengthens position tional and doesnotconsciously the listener beendupedin [2]. Naturally, of having to the processdescribed perceivethe workexactlyaccording discursively be used levelcansubsequently of the neutral description here,buta detailed point fromanesthesic pertinent isfunctionally which a phenomenon to describe an effect we are,afterall, describing of view;whenwe speakof deception, uponsomeone. usedup to thispoint: of the method to a feature mustbe drawn Attention of parato criteria unitsaccording consistsof isolating process the research pointof viewhasnowbeenadopted But a different association. digmatic abstract succession.Havingbegun with a relatively that of syntagmatic
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description of unitsregrouped in absentia to use Saussure's expression theyarethenprojected ontothe realaxiswheretheylinkup. Note thatthe description of the syntagmatic progression suggested above usesinformation andsegmentation established froma paradigmatic pointof view.Some musicanalyses havealready usedparadigmatic presentation,1l but in introducing to musicology theconcepts of syntagm andparadigm, structural linguistics andsemiology offera thematisation of thisdistinction. A systematic search for the paradigms of related unitseffectsregroupings andclassifications, thus advancing towards a typological knowledge of worksand their constituent elements; the thematisation of the paradigmatic principle will require us to identifya category of upward-surging figures('flights': see, belowof II-2);the thematisation of syntagmatic organisation bringsus to studytheirdistribution. In previously published analyses,12 we emphasised paradigmatic decomposition of worksbecause thisaspect wasnotconsidered systematically in classicalmusicology. In the presentstudy, we wish to concentrate on syntagmatic progression, butto takeas a basis theinfonnation yielded bytheparadigmatic viewpoint. Theorder of discovery andof exposition doesnot necessarily coincide: in thisparagraph we havestressed the method used(projection of the resultsof paradigmatic decomposition ontothe syntagmatic axis);fromnowon we shallfollowmorecloselythe order in which the unitsappear. It is simplya matterof remembering that paradigmatics enabled themto be identified. Theparadigmatic andsyntagmatic description of thenumbered unitsin the score of 'Density' doesnotcomplete theanalysis. In note7 threereasons were givenforregrouping thefirstsix unitsintolarger segments, labelled I, II and III. Onemightaskwhy, bothinitially andthroughout this study,the small unitsappear to be usedto establish the larger ones,whilstonehearing of the piecepermits immediate identification of the largest sections. Thistextcouldhavebegun by justifying, in broad terms, thedivision of the pieceintothreeparts,thedivision of PartI intotwosections-A andB, the division of A into threesegments-I, II andIII, the division of I intotwo units-[1] and[2], etc. Butthe procedure 'from bottom to top'is preferred because thehierarchically more important unitsarenotidentified according to the criteria in use for classical andromantic music:repetition of themes,of longphrases andof periods. Varese playson subtlerhythmic differentiations and avoidsstrictmelodicrepetitions; it is thesedistinctions with whicha scrupulous analysis should dealfirst.As Lidovrightly says,'Varese hasleftall the a priori implicational relations of musicaltonality behind.The unique systemof the workis its onlysystem.Instead of the tensionbetween style (abstract) andexample (concrete), the worktakesits life andits energy from the complexity and ambiguity of its internally developed associations and contrasts. The taxonomy renders these explicit'(Lidov 1977:4445). An emphasised note, a general melodic configuration, a rhythmic or intervallic contrast between two passages will definea largesection.This is why it is easierto understand the largeunits whenone knowsfromwhichsmaller phenomena theyareconstructed.
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among in decision-making At the end of this study the divergences but what,in will be examined, organisation formal regarding musicologists a of the formABAis to recognise fact, is a form?To speak,for example, by a third separated two segments, between familiarity paradigmatic certain the paraIn analysis, paradigm. a separate to constitute whichis considered as ABA',it is because If ABAis inflected the syntagmatic. precedes digmatic to be looserthan A andA ' areconsidered linksbetween the paradigmatic the use of two identical analysis A and A. In classicformal thosebetween theneutralisof A andA, butrather identity strict signified hasnever symbols the In a worklike'Density', to be negligible. considered ationof differences even unitsis possible, thanthesmall greater or sections of parts identification whicharehierarof variables number froma small butonlystarting obvious, differ of 'Density' analyses to others.If formal in relation dominant chically thedominant VII),thisis because (seeSection to another fromoneresearcher here,theformis not the the sameforeveryone: arenot necessarily variables of of a givenperiod in thecourse composers among practice of common result convergence andmobile of a relative butis the consequence history, musical criteriabetweensections,for listenersand equivalence of paradigmatic pronorregrettable, dramatic areneither alike.Thesedivergences analysts behindthem. of the reasons videdthatwe areconscious by was justified of the firstsix unitsinto threesegments The regrouping whythesethreesegments explain (seenote7). Othervariables threecriteria whichdistingbut alsoa familyresemblance autonomy, eachhavea certain us to look,to beginwith,at the uishesthemfromwhatfollowsandenables firstsix barsalone: II andIII Segments F-E-F#-C#-G in succession. I presents (1) Segment order. use the samenotes,butin a different in the three of intervals in the distribution analogy (2) Thereis a certain segments: I [1] [2] II [3] [4] III [5] [6] ld 5a ld 6d la 3d 2a 5d 2a 6a ld 6a 5a 6a (2d) la (ld) 2d (6d)

in theinterval contained of semitones the number designate Thenumerals a anda minorthird): second an augmented is madebetween (no distinction mark'joins' intervals bracketed and 'descending'; and d mean'ascending' neutralG andF in b.3 is effectively between Theinterval segments. between between[4] and [5] has greater ised by the rest, but the joininginterval of II andIII.Thecriterion of segments thewhole sincetheslurcovers weight, suchas thatof a resthas not beenusedto identify[4] and [5]. A problem on depends of eachvariable how the weight showsclearly intervals joining to particular changeaccording factorswhich, themselves, manydifferent
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contexts. Nevertheless, a constant canbe drawn fromtheexamination of these intervallic syntagms: everysegment beginswitha semitone andendswitha tritone, in accordance witha seriesof continuous augmentation: I 1 II 1 III 1 2 2 1 5 1 1 6 6 2 6 3

(3) The studyof intervallic directions discloses another syntagmatic principle: I 1X,/(\) II 3\ /(/) III 5/<(X) 2/\/ (X) 4N/(<) 6h/(X)

Thisabstraction of intervals joining [2] to [3], [3] to [4] andthe descending movement of [5] and [6] (G-Ft-E-Ct), showsa certain predilection in the piecefor systematic alternation of ascending anddescending movement. (4) Evenif segments II andIII arelinkedby thelargeslurof bs 3-5, each one of theseunitsis distinguished by secondary slursin [3] and [5] whichisolate[4] and[6] by virtueof theirdifference. (5) Rhythmic equivalence classes werediscussed above. Following anexamination of thewhole piece,thefollowing rhythmic typology is proposed: al : shortpluslong a2 : two regular shortsplusone long a3 : one (ortwo)short(s) plusone longplusone short b : constant augmentation c : one longplusone short d : one longplusone shortplusone long e : regular rhythm. Theseseventypescan be grouped into threefamilies on the basisof initial short,longor constant rhythm. Fromthis viewpoint,the homogeneity of the threesegments is perfect: I [1] [2] II [3] [4] III [5] [6] a2 d + long(ortriplet quaver + b) a2 d a2 'd'(byassimilation)
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approach'3 andtheinformational semiology onmusic 2. Digression The analysisof the openingof 'Density'suggestsseveralconclusions statusof the neutrallevel. When Ruwet the epistemological concerning units'(1972:112),he proelementary identifying for machine 'a imagined proposed, of themethod character theexplicit evokes which videda metaphor procedures these that dangerously, rather imply, to said be could which but thetop', canbegin'from thefactthatanalysis character; areof analgorithmic between'small'and 'largeunits',shows zig-zagging constant and requires or mechanical. withalgorithmic is not synonymous quitewellthatexplicit two steps:the firstgesture, of the firstfive barscombined The analysis of defining consists of criteria, collection a confused in thatit implies intuitive thatin noneof themarethecriteria callsblocks.It soonappears whatMolino A study of the 'partitionings' homogeneous. association of paradigmatic by parameter out by block,but parameter no longercarried (decoupages), etc.) showsthatno singleparameter then intervals (pitches,thenrhythms, of of the blocks,whicharetheresultof a conflux the constitution dominates in eachnewcontext. whoseweightchanges variables type.Atfirst,it of theinformational anapproach consider Asa comparison, noteby note.A scanwould andproceed startat thebottom wouldnecessarily units,takingthe notestwo, thenthree,thenfourat a identifyall identical looksfirstforalltheF- E's time,andso on. At thelevelof pitch,themachine barsof the sixty-one in thepieceandfindsthemin b.3. Then,afterscanning the work,it startsagainwith E-F: whichit findsin bs 3 and54 etc. The sincewe canstatethe threenotesis simpler for unitscomprising procedure by unitB (twonotes)andthe rule:if unitA (twonotes)is followed following unit, a three-note last note of A is the first note of B, A + B constitutes there Thus, elsewhere. found is notes of succession same the that provided F-E-Ft, forexample unitsin 'Density', three-note to be twenty-one appear be should it case latter the in then, Even 5-6. 4 and bs bs 1-3,G-Ct-G, of unit the since account into rests take not does machine the that recognibed longest the to up go can we way, this In rest. quaver a triplet bs 5-6 contains nine notes:B-Ft-A-F#-B-A-B-F:-A (bs unit in the piece. It contains in b.34). 32-33, repeated of the piece:intervals, on the otherdimensions is repeated Thisoperation slurs. and attack, of modes dynamics, rhythm, of unitsdefinedin this way is not representation Note that the graphic by Ruwet, notationproposed paradigmatic of differentfrom the system formed units of table The shorter. and wider arenecessarily thetables though and hundred one syntagmatically, by notes takentwo by two comprises, begins: inventory interval The repeated. are unitsof whichfifty-one thirty-six

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(1 = semitone, d = descending, a = ascending) ld ld ld ld 2a ld ld etc. 2a 2a 2a 5d 5d 5a 6a 6a 2d 6a 6a la la la la 3d 3d 2d la la 3d 6d 3a 3a

This table clearlyshows a patternof units of 2, 3, etc. intervals: for example, ld-2a (bs 1 and3), 2a-la (bs 6 and8) Such 'accounting' cannotbe calledanalysis,but is rathera 'physical' inventory. Given thatnotallpossible forms of transformaton areforeseeable, as soon as relationships are established betweenunitsthat are not strictly identical we enterthe realmsof analysis, but it must be recognized that cultural and theoretical knowledge, a prioris and auralimpressions affect
* u

c beclslons.

The difference between an inventory andactual analysis is thatit doesnot appear to bepossible todeduce thelatter fromthesum of theinformation provided bythe former. In fact,partitioning carried outnoteby noteandparameter by parameter doespresent problems:l4 (1) A certain number of variables is reduced, fromthestart,to thestatus of hapax, thatis, theyarenot attachable to othervariables, remaining isolated andunusable in the inventory. Rhythmic values area casein point:withthe exception of initial notesof 'phrases', characterised by twosemiquavers (bs 1, 3, 9, 15,21, 41, 43),there areveryfewstrict repetitions in thepiece.From the third noteof the piece,the valuesof the F: in bs 1-2 andthe F: of bs 3- 4 must be made equivalent in order to obtain aninteresting result-a departure from the data.The algorithmic procedure lendstoomuchweightto the note as the minimal pertinent unit. As Molinowrites,it 'is an "amalgam" of heterogeneous characterisations: it indicates oneabsolute pitch,virtual intervals,degreesand function,and virtual durations whichcould,potentially, carry rhythms. Thisis whyanisolated notecouldneverconstitute a unit:its most important properties (intervals, degrees andfunctions, rhythms) remain virtual untilat leasta secondnote is joinedto it' (1975:55). The example shows clearly howphenomena pertinent for analysis arepresent at the 'top'
256
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VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5:

A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

but not at the 'bottom':the equivalencewhich the proceduredemonstrates betweenphysically differentvaluesis one suchcase, andit is hardto see how a computercould automatically establishan equivalencewhich depends on a judgement of similaritytranscending concreteresemblances and differences. (2) Even amongrepeatedunits, the inventoryrevealsphysicallyidentical phenomenawhich do not have the same significance.For example:the unit G-F of b.3 would be picked up by the machinebecauseof its occurrence in b.43 (G-Et: we must allowenharmonic notesto be codedin identicalfashion which is justifiable in this music). The sameis true of the unit G-F# which appears twicein b.4 andreappears in bs 42 and43. In view of the restsin both these examples, and also of the distance between and diversity of their contexts,these 'repetitions' do not appear to be of any use. Transposition is a typicalcase. The inventorydealingonly with pitch will pick up the repetition of F-E-F: in bs l and 3, but will establishno relationbetweenthis and the E-D:-F fromb. 15. The intervalinventory,on the otherhand, will pick out ld- 2a in bs 1, 3 and 15, but withoutbeingable to show, sincepitch does not come into it, that the ld-2a of b. 15 is a transposition of the othertwo. Then the rhythmic elementmust be added:the units takenfrombs 1, 3 and 15 have in commonwith the firstthreenotesof b.9 the rhythmtwo semiquavers plus a long. The intervallic unit is not identical: Db-C-Db = ld- la, but the connectionof the units throughthe intermediary of the rhythmgives la a presumed equivalence with 2a. We see, then, thatthe interest of a recurrence is not independent of its context:it dependson its insertioninto a block, thatis, a moreor less homogeneous groupconstructed by the analyston the basis of one or severalcriteria,dominant and convergent,thatdo not constituteall the criteria which couldhave been broughtinto the analysis.Until we haveproof that the criteriaare unsuitable,they justifythe analytical choices;this is why they must be renderedexplicit. For this reason, Molino calls them quasi-

crzterza.

(3) Finally,the note by note inventorydoes not permitthe identification of phenomena whichnormalmusicalcompetence isolatesat once. We see in the paradigmatic tablesthat [4] introducesa G wherebeforetherewas a Ct, and laterwe shallhavean E. The importance givento thesenotespresupposes that all preceding material (i.e. the rhythmicfigure,and the analogies between[1], [3] and [5]) and whatfollows(Ct-G) has been analysed.Does this meanthat inventories of material areuseless?GillesNaud (1979)has proposeda method which, on a single table, 'reports'recurrences,parameterby parameter, variableby variable, together withinformationdrawn from the completed analysis.There is, therefore,no limit to the numberof possiblecolumns.l5 Therefollowsan exampleof what can be obtainedwith this method, applied to the beginningof the piece:

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257

JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ

x = semiquaver y- triplet z- crotchet quaver

Ido notintendto undertake a laborious inventory of units:it is possible, in a specific study, to take shortcuts. Froma methodological point of view, however, thecomparison suggested by Naudto which wecanrefer forlimited verification focuses ourattention on threepoints: (1) It tells us, by comparison of physical dataand analytical decisions,
258
MUSIC ANALYSIS1:

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ANALYSIS 'DENSITY21.5': A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL VARESE'S

(Molino's term). For example, the unit G-F which variablesare strategic which joins the first two segmentsof Ex. 1, does not have the samevalue as the F-E or the E-F# of the opening.G-F assumesthe statusof a joiningunit. All the joiningunitsof the piecemightbe studiedfor certaincommontraitsin relationto all the other interan interval,perhaps,which is characteristic vals of the work. These comparisonsshould permit the identificationof than others. more weight which give certainvariables and situations contexts an instrument (2) Secondly, Naud's inventorytable is an aide-memoire, which confrontsus with phenomenathat the 'from the top' procedureof analysismight leave out. Once it is discoveredthat F-E-F#, paradigmatic elementof the piece, 'thematic' rhythm,is an important with its characteristic the intervaltable can be scannedto see if ld-2a is found elsewhere.This successionappearsin bs 10-11, in the trill of b.20 and in b.39, and makesit intervalsforma developmental possibleto show how these two characteristic thread,and at what privilegedpoints(beforethe returnof the real 'theme'at bs 15, 21 and 41). (3) Finally, the table in columnsshows up, on one page, conflictingsegof requirecomparison of whichwouldotherwise the identification mentations, tables, often spreadover severalpages. Here, a conflict arises paradigmatic which isolatesC#-G and the slur which betweenthe melodic segmentation finallyadopteddoesnot excludethe other,sinceit isolatesG. The partitioning has been shown that it could be pertinentfrom anotherpoint of view.

to highG (b. 17) 3. Theprogression Concerningthe first five bars in toto.What, in fact, is the beginning of
'Density'? Looking ahead as far as b. 17, we can call it a melody which The cresby a crescendo. remainsfaithfulto romanticgestures,characterised is, of course,dynamic(thefofb.3 andb.8, thettofb.9, thetftofb.11, cendo of bs 13-14 and 16-17), but exists also in a more metaphorical the crescendo sense: the progressionof rhythms and intervals, and the melodic ascent which, at b.5, has only just taken off. A 'romantic'ascent, then, but one expectationsconditionedby tonal dynamics:the which constantlyfrustrates is foundin b.8, as in b.2, then betweenbs 8 and 9, and in samephenomenon b.16. The functionof sectionA (bs 1-5) is to introduce,afterthe motivewhich winds aroundF#, the tritone C$G three times. Momentumis generated in b.6 and the upsurgeof the melodyends only in b. 17 with C#-G reappears of the the high G. For this new section, B, Ex. 5 shows the organization (bs S8): melodicprogression

MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

259

NATTIEZ JEAN-JACQUES

Ex.5

^ [63

3 p sud iho

v ton e

-J

br

( b*

waythatC$-Gof [7] Inthesame asa memorandum. [6]is reintroduced Here, were the G-Bb takenfrom[7]. If in b.8 there of [6], [8] contains a isretake dividesthemfromthe preceding a clearsluroverthe Bb andC which not goingup to G-Bb oncemorebefore repeats onemightsaythatVarese notes, C#-G-A-Bb of [7], picked the progression But this is a newdeception: C. afterthe longBb, is restandthe breath-mark by the slur,the preceding out to pitch,as G-Bb-C-Db: but onlyin respect repeated Ex.6

it to C, andtheC, connects fromtheG bytheslurwhich theBbis isolated But fromDb by duration is separated emphasis, dynamic to distinctive subjected themovethemomentum: whicharrests andby a breath its arrival, delaying will There not be C#-G / C#-G-A-Bb delaysG-Bb / G-Bb-C-Db. ment symmetry. perfect Using description. by a rhythmic mustbe completed analysis Themelodic above,we obtain: presented thetypology
[7] [8]
[9]

b c or e
al

to quaverof b.8 maybe considered Note thatc or e for [8] indicatesthatthe In crotchets. triplet equalto thatof the preceding perceptively havea duration
260
MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

'\

p1

3]

,,

'DENSITY21.5': VARESE'S

ANALYSIS A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL

by any case, [8] is framedby two units whoserhythmis characterised are configurations that the rhythmic apparent It is already prolongation. quitenew fromthoseof sectionA. In b.6, something differently organised begins. on Gwasadded onlybecause of Ex.4 wasoblique profile Theparadigmatic in Ex. 8 its vertical (andlater is primarily therightof theF: axis.Thisprofile D to vertical: Fromb.9 to b.11.it returns is moremarked). character oblique Db andC whichis between the playof permutations is the onlynoteoutside overtwo bars: spread Ex.7
melody rhythm

ka

r
3

E] g
t11]
r

_f

7 fi r mf subsoo
H ,\,
t

6 mf
brr

Subito

E2] H
semitonc

Stf
' 3

tf

their with[1], [3]and[5]:it borrows associated [10]mustbe paradigmatically plus a dottedminim, as againsttwo type a2 (two semiquavers rhythmic minimin [1])andtakesthe formof a lower plusa triple-dotted semiquavers the as in [1]. In so faras [10]doesnotcontain mordent thanan upper rather of Ft, one ld-2a whichwouldallowthe introduction succession intervallic to it, in contrast, pattern ld-la allows thanF, theintervallic higher semitone a tran([11]and [12])constitute stayput. Thus, [10]andits prolongations andtriple by a crescendo D, underlined sitionbefore[13] whichintroduces preconfiguration (ld---la) intervallic (a2) and to a rhythmic according forte, equivalence an thus defines pattern 'short-short-long' ciselyas in [1]. The semiof upward whichconsists procedure class,justlike the developmental the for D in thusto be a kindof preparation Db appears tonalprogression. to the contributes notes on two permutations play of the In a sense, b.ll. event,the of a predictable it delaysthe appearance of deception: principle to D.16 ascent
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261

NATTIEZ JEAN-JACQUES

intro(Ex. 7 right)showshowVarese paradigm A studyof the rhythmic whichcouldhavebeenmonotosequence intoa melodic ducessomevariety and the becauseof its long finalnote, its crescendo nous. [10], distinctive to therhythmic belongs it fromwhatfollows, restwhichseparates semiquaver typea2as we noted;[11]takesthe lasttwonotesof [10],justas [9] didwith the Db's of [10] between the parallelism reinforces [8]; typea1(short-long) of a2by leftof a1(ora1a transformation anextension and[11],a2beingsimply to type of [10],belongs inversion of theinitialnote);[12],themelodic elision [13]begins tiedto tripletquaver); plusquaver plusquaver quaver b (triplet type(a2),butends withthesametwonotesas [10]andhasthesamerhythmic to the whichbeginson Db and endsfff contributes on D. The crescendo of [11]and[12].They is biasin thesegmentation of thisunit.There emphasis might beproposed: norslur.Thefollowing bybreathing neither areseparated Ex8
[11] 012]

F
b;
3 3 3 z3

tr- r

of [10]and inversion themelodic wouldbecome Thefirstunitof thisexample its firsttwonotes.The lengthof Db in [11]makes wouldborrow the second andlength sinceits repetition especially to accept, difficult thissegmentation mustadmit however, analysis, Theneutral importance. giveit decisive in-[10] choiceof performers' of Ex. 8 if only to foreseecertain the configuration phrasing. andrhythmic. table(Ex. 9) forbs 11and12is bothmelodic Thefollowing in [15] octave of G#-D: G#in thelower thetreatment in showing It is melodic to the rightof by an expansion thenD in the loweroctavein [16]followed A, BbandE octave, G#-D; in theupper above respectively A-D#, semitones we findtypesa abovethe notesof [16].Rhythmically, too willbe a semitone by b in [16]and[17]. a1in [14]and[15],prolonged andb: moreprecisely, progression. followsthatof the melodic momentum The rhythmic a to imagine It wouldbe possible in brackets. In [14]the D waswritten G:-D buton D-GS, as heading basednot on the paradigmatic partitioning to see it in thisway,not I amreluctant paradigm. shownby the right-hand to twounits(weshallseein b. 36thatthisis nota theD mightbelong because
262

MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5: A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Ex .9

r5r
s

C
3 ,

: >
3

E5]

Sai
st s. . st

r
42$m
, ,

L<?e'
.

54 '

tt
(st= semitone)

.-

problem), butbecause thef on theG#, validforthewholeof b. 12, separates clearly by contrast [14]from[13]where thetfton D of b. 11is thegoalof the crescendo beginning at the endof b. 10. In addition, oursegmentation throws into reliefa rhythmic procedure whichseemsto be usedfrequently in this piece.Butin the samespirit,it wouldbe possible to partition [15]and[16]in the following way: Ex.10

Rhythmically typea3is followed by typeb, andmelodically a succession of threeoccurrences of the ascending tritone appears, prolonging the join[13][14] and the two descending tritonesof [14], but emphasising the parallel movement of theunits.Depending uponwhether onechooses to lendweight to thevariable 'rhythm in augmentation' or on theother handto 'importance of tritones', the boundaries between [14], [15]and[16]mayvary. Musicanalysis is, like the worksof whichit attempts to give account, a symbolic phenomenon, sinceit is the resultof human activity (andtherefore hasits ownpoietics); it leaves a 'trace' (thetextof theanalysis) andis subject to reading, interpretation anddiscussion (theesthesic pole).Thus,the directionof attention on one aspectof the workrather thananother modifies the
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263

JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ

organisation of things.Whatis appropriate to the neutral levelis to makean inventory of allanalytical possibilities andI shallshow,as faras possible, the poieticor esthesic pertinence of someof these. [17]wasconstructed from[16],usingthe familiar procedure of raising by onesemitone. UnlikeEx. 9, the intervals arenotidentical, eventhough both unitsdo endwitha tritone,butin bothcasestherhythm formsa continuous progression (typeb: triplet semiquaver, triplet quaver, quaver, dotted quaver on theonehand,andquaver, quaver, dotted quaver, semibreve on theother) andthe succession of directions is the same( \ / / ). Concerning the roleof semitones andimportance of tritones: as forsection A, it is interesting to lookat intervallic behaviour between units[7]and[17]. First,we shallgrouptheseunitsintolarger segments: B I [71 6a II [8] 3a [9] 2a III [10] la [11] la [12] la [13] ld IV [14] 6d [1S] 6a [16] Sd V[17] 12d 2a la (3d) 3d (3a) (la) la (ld) (ld) ld (la) 2a (6a) (6d) (6a) + 6a 6a (6a)l7 l+a 3a (12d)

Unlikesection A segments I andII of B showa tendency to diminution: 62 1 3 3 2. Thenin the 'permutation' zone(segment III)Varese works onlywith semitones. The tone ending[13] is a step towards segmentIV whichis dominated by tritones(four occurrences beforeG of [16], then after a descending leapof a compound perfect fourththreetritones leading to A of [17]).Comparing [13] with previous intervallic sequences, we can see how Varese varies the pathsfromthe semitone to the tritone: A B I: II: III: [13]: 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 S 1 3 6 6 6 6

(theinversion of 6 2 1 in [7

Thetritoneis a characteristic interval: it splitsthe tempered scaleinto two equal parts andis notwithout analogy to thesemitone, which divides thescale into twelveequalparts. 18 Thiscontributes to thetautness of thepiece.As we cansee, the intervals are distributed in privileged zones:the tritonesend segments I, II andIII of A, anddominate section IV of B, afterthe semitone zone.SegmentV combinesthese two features: the initialA of [17] is a semitone aboveGS, a tritone aboveD: ; the interval between A andBb is a
264
MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

st

'DENSITY21.5: VARESE'S

ANALYSIS A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL

semitoneand the last interval(Bb-E) a tritone.(Thereis one intervalmissing from the first thirteenbars and almost entirelyabsent from the rest of the consonant becauseit is a particularly piece, the majorthird.19This is probably by seconds,tritonesand sevenths.) interval,and 'Density 21.5' is articulated In [17] (segment V) there are intervalsnot heard before: a descending octave, a compound semitone which is followed once again by a tritone of this intervals fourthof [16]thesearethe largest ending.With the compound opening passageand they widen the ambit (startingfrom the semitone)in which the melodic curve can flower. But the progression,in evidencesince figureof the opening: [7], is not over. In b. 15, we find the melodico-rhythmic of the up a seventh(inversionby semitone),but reminders [4] is transposed openingarenot confinedto [18]. [19]takesthe notesof [18]in a gesturewhich is not withoutanalogyto the passagefrom [1] to [2]: E-D#-F / D#-F here, andF-E / F# / C#-F# before.[20]and [21]containthe samenotesre-ordered as the first few bars:E-F-F#-G. intervals,[18] to [21] showthe sametendencynoted for Finally,as regards segment A and between [10] and [16], that is, the continuousbroadening, after the celebrationof tritonesin [4] to [17], in tones, semitonesand their intervals compoundrevisions,which does not pass throughthe intermediary 3, 5 and 6: [18] 1 [19] [20] 1 [21] 1++ 2 2 2 2 2 1+ (1)

SectionB ends on the same note as sectionA, afterwhich the rise to high G began(b. 7). The intervalof [21] is a doublecompoundsemitonebetweenF# notes of [1] and [2]. It wouldbe an exaggeration and G, the two predominant off andsummingup, andnot is rounding to speakof a coda, but the composer only throughallusionsto the very openingof the piece. Hereis the paradigm of bs 15-16:
Ex11 i0180
S 4<

E9]e

kOa]

4;

-;
MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

A
265

*c

NATTIEZ JEAN-JACQUES

Ex. 14andEx. 10, we see ones. Comparing to the preceding It is not unrelated took those of [10]. Even [11] as just [18], of that [19] takesthe last two notes afterthe threenotes [19] from notes two the of the articulation rhythmically, complex: the relatively is [20a] [11]. in of [18] resembleswhat happened and C of [10] Db the that way same the E, D# and F of [18] arepermuted(in just as [4] F#, an into transformed is [19] from werepermutedin [12]);the F afterD, D# a [16] Db, after D a [13] Bb, a G afterF#, [9] a C after introduced comparison last This D#. and A G#, and [17] an A, a Bb and an E after enablesus to drawtogether[16]-[17] and [20a]-21a].
Ex.12 5601
+

Xg

4tS

J)

#r

[,5
520ag 3

f f
t21b]H

7 $N,

LS

directions aftera D with the characteristic Justas in [16] a D# was introduced so in [20a] Vareseintroducesan E# after E, with the same directions / , tritoneand major / X . Even if these intervalsare not the same (ascending second, decendingcompoundperfectfourthand compoundminor second), to D# in [16]and to E# beforethe returning the leapwhichleadsrespectively upward sweep (D#-A-D# / E#-F#-G) in [20a] is some justificationfor G in b. 17 drawingthese musicalsegmentstogether.Finally,the culminating to F#, as the E# has the samesemitonerelation(evenin octavedisplacement) has to E, the Bb to A, and the A to G#. in the threesegmentsof Ex. 12 It will be notedthatthe implicitpartitioning does not correspondto [16] and [20a]-[21a]. Recall that whilst in Ex. 9 for the analysisof bs 11-14, were taken into rhythmicfactors,indispensable The break account,in Ex. 11 the accentwas placedon melodicrelationships. between[20a]and [2la] cannotbe retainedbecauseof the phrasing,dynamics and breathing.It should thereforebe written:

266

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VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5:

A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

Ex.13 D 20] <2= '


[21] -

L
,y C

Of course,this segmentation offersnothing,paradigmatically, in respect of [18]and[19],precisely because the F# andthe G arenew.It is thissegmentation,however, whichis retained as the slursandthe breathing imposea partitioning whereit is only the melodicrelationships that are no longer readable. Thismeans that,onceagairl, thejoining of Ex. 11 andEx. 13on the neutrallevel throwsinto reliefa new formof the principle of deception. Following theparadigmatic analogy of Ex. 15the E# of [20]should go to the F# of [21]in thesamemotion whichtakesD# to A ([18])orA to Bb([17]).In fact,thisnatural momentum is arrested bytheexpansion of thephrasing after thefirstF# andthe breath between E# andF#, in themiddle of a crescendo. Section B is autonomous because it displays, in its ownright,traits which A doesnot possess.The rhythmic typesin the firstthreeunitsof B havebeen shownto be different fromthoseof A. Let us look at B fromthis pointof
view:

I [7] II [8] [9] III [10]


[1 1]

b c or e al a2
al

[12] [13] IV [14] [15] [16] V [17] VI [18] [19] [20] [21]

b a2 a a b b a2 c al a a1

Except in [8]and[19],typesa andb, thosewhichgo fromtheshortest to the longestduration, predominate. Type d, presentin A, is peculiarto the beginning sinceit doesnotappear hereat all. Its return from[22]to [26]will be allthemoresignificant. Theomnipresence of a andb implies thatallthese
MUSIC ANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

267

E.

L
JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ

units([7]-[21])end witha longer valuethanthosealready heard withinthe same unit.Thisis alsothecasewithsegments. Onecannot helpbutestablish a correlation between this tendency to lengthen durational valuesin eachunit and each segment,and the melodicprogression whichis the objectof B. Consider Ex. 14:
Ex.14a

I +

nf f
3,

mff w f
3 '

>

# w-

dF3

1)1

##

tWu

(I)74/-

gJ

s6izo

f
I r

UfT
*g--

mf s>Eto
Ex.14b

f*g

EH-e
f cL"-' ^

fP

_,ff9c

268

MUSIC ANALYSIS 1: 3, 1982

bo

bo

'DENSITY21.5: VARESE'S

ANALYSIS A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL

progresstep-wise forman ascending Thenewnotesfromeachunitactually to thosepreceding: sionin relation


Ex.1 5

;>

o .. bo

Wo ^s w bo zqo

o ct,,)#O o

here?A scale,firstminor(G, A, Bb, C, D) then Canwe speakof tonality (Dt, E, F, F,t, G) unfolds,but not everyaddednote is felt as chromatic is pointthetonality at everytransient beingin thekeyof G:on the contrary, which note a polar towards lean segment sincethenotesin a unitor uncertain notethatwill another eachtimeandwhich,itself,leanstowards is different bars seventeen first these of point Eachtransient subsequently. predominate exceeded is and ambit precise itselfin a a moment whichestablishes delineates tonesor semitones: onlyby successive Ex.16
[1g-t2 [2,

@'

o
[1] [6]

bo
[72

t.. U

o |
t80

bo

bo l s
[13]

t9]

[lo]-[120 5] 4]-E 01
n

E 60
I to

[1 7]

bt

[18]-[20]

t2og [2<

14"

1$'

in reserve left,soto speak, B20, fromtheopening, is onenotemissing There a pole of of role the assumes evidently it where C) (section for bs 1W23 attraction.

MUSICANALYSIS1 : 3, 1982

269

sJ

JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ

4. Thezoneof B (bs18-23, [227-[287) The zoneof B maintains a number of linkswithwhatgoesbefore:


Ex.17

v [2i

p >02603

tubito

I
r27g

--L*Spt

[24Xff
p wubito

ft

Looking firstat the left-hand paradigmatic axis, we see thatmelodically [22]is a lowermordent like[10],butrhythmically it belongs to typed of [2]. [23]transforms [22]bylowering A: onesemitone, thefamiliar procedure, but operating downwards this time. G: is added,on the right,alsoa semitone lower.Contrary to whathas happened up to b. 17, herethe tendency is to descent. In [24]thereis the samemelodic contour as in bs 1S17: Ex.1 8
,Q sl to 4;.w ("v) n

[24,

o ts. to

270

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VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5:

A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

It should alsobe notedthat,whereas in [12]-[13] thereis a slowtrillending a semitone higher(D), in [24] thereis a rapidtrill whichfollowsthe same intervallic pattern (descending semitone, ascending tone),the pattern of [1] whichthe phrasing of bs 19-20(another useof deception) is not supposed to hide.[24]is a kindof response to [22]-[23]: theselastdescend chromatically towards G: withfournotes(B-A-B-G:); [24]climbsup to D in inversion (B-Ct-B:-D): only B: altersthe symmetry. But this note is important, heralding the B$t of [28].[24],whoseanalogy to [1]hasbeenmentioned, is a sortof transition to [25]whichclearly borrows its rhythm (or thatof [10]). SectionC is thus attached to sectionA by two procedures: in [22] by the rhythm of [2], in [25] by the rhythm of [1], andin [24]by the intervallic patternof [1]. [26] plays on the A already introduced which occupies, distributionally, theplaceof B andtakestherhythm of [2]and[22].[27]uses onlythefirsttwonotesof [26].Since[25]wehavenotlefttheambit A-B, just as [22]-[23]establish themselves between G: andB. [28]willplay,anoctave higher,on the C: andB: introduced by [24].The appoggiatura is a sortof inversion of thelower mordent of [22]and[25],andsection C endsa semitone abovethe polarB: a transition is assured. Thissection is divisible intotwo'moments', eachof whichmayin turnbe divided into two: C Ia Ib IIa IIb [22] [24] [25] [28] 23 26 27

Ia-Ib andIIa-IIbarein factsymmetrical: Ia andIIa showa tendency to descentor to stasisand botharefollowed by an abrupt changeof register. Theyarecharacterised by tonesandsemitones ([22]:1 1; [23]:2 2 3; [25]:1 1 2; [26]:1 1 2; [27]:1). Thetwosegments endby leapsof a tone,displaced up anoctave, in thesamewaythattherisesof [17]and[21]closesegments V and VI of B. Mostmusicologists21 agree thatb. 23is theendof thefirstpartof thepiece. Actually, fromb. 24 onwards Varese usescompletely different compositional procedures. Weseesection C moreasa transition between whatprecedes and whatfollows: because in b.17 the climax on thehighG completed a progressioninstigated at the beginning; because section C is theprivileged zoneof a notewhichwe hadnot heard; because the alternation fall/rise-stagnation/rise doesnotshowa clear picture asin thefirsttwosections theimportant notes of thefoursegments firstoutline thechord B-G:-D, thenthegroup B-AtB: whichstayssuspended but is identical to the intervallic pattern of [1].

MUSIC ANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

271

NATTIEZ JEAN-JACQUES

PARTII (bs 24-40) by percussive is characterised A (bs24-28)which section PartII comprises D C (bs32-36)andsection B (bs29-32), section useof theflutekeys,section to the motiffrom[1]. (bs 36-40). The thirdpart(III)beginswitha return II (bs24-28) section 1. Thepercussive rests: of thenumerous because is obvious of thissection Thesegmentation
Ex.19 [29], 3 ,

[3]

.
,

[312 +

[3i
p

#S
t3i3 +

77S7'?
P

[34]

nn

[3i

+3

+'

03i

,b:

fromtheE-C: of [6]?It is firston E-Ct. Can[29]be drawn dwells Varese Ct-(E)-D whichis that to notethatbs 2X28 arecastin theambit tempting by a play of of the openingof the piece (bs 1-11) until the introduction invertsthe Varese In [31], (b. 12) of a new modeof progression. tritones pivotnote the becomes by the D of [32], E-Ct. This last note, prolonged Eb, heard an on ends passage The by D ([35]- [37]). ([33]- [34])followed second. minor a compound as D above hereforthe firsttime,andstands moves ([29]) unit first The autonomous. This whole sectionis, then, and additions successive of play a by ([37]) last the to withouta break dotted and accented bars, twenty-three first the to contrast In suppressions.
272
MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5:

A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

notesareusedsystematically. The regular rhythm typeis predominant and appears fivetimes.Therestsarelonger andmorefrequent thanin preceding sections. In PartI, sub-sections A andB areseparated by a rest:thereis a tripletcrotchetrest between[6] and [7], [19] and [20]; semiquaver rest between [10]and [11];quaver restbetween [23]and [24], [24]and [25]. A dottedcrotchet rest divides[17] and [18], beforethe returnof the initial motive,andPartI endson a minimrest.In PartI, theselongrestsenjoya privileged distributional position: theyprecede thereturn of theinitial motive ([3] and [18]in the two versions closestto [1] rhythm short-short-long; descending semitone, ascending tone). In this we find:a minimrestbetween [29]and [30]and(approximately) between [32]and[33],a dotted crotchet restbetween [33],[34],[35]and[36] (to thenearest triplet semiquaver), a crotchet restbetween [30]and[31],[31] and[32],[35]and[36],[37]and[38],anda quaver restbetween [36]and[37]: longrestspredominate. Finally, thisis theonlymoment of thepiecewhere Varese usesthepercussiveeffectof the fingers on the flutekeys.Because thiswasa newuseof the instrument, these five barshave attracted most comment and sufficedto inscribe the piecein musichistory: it is really sincethenthatcertain purely technical properties of instruments havebeenusedto musical ends. 2. Verticalfalls andflights (bs29-32) With the tempochangein b. 29 and the descending leapswhichthe composer usessystematically forthefirsttimehere,something different again begins:
Ex.20

t38,

[39]29

_[40Xt

$+

MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

273

NATTIEZ JEAN-JACQUES

[420 3

[43>

[43in

;-/st

--43
[432

A;
br^t

J4T'lQl

to thoseof [16](G#-D#), [17](A-A) and Theseleapsarein fact similar forthefirsttimewiththecharacteris combined (F#-E#), butthisfigure [20] the between Thedifference typea2from[1](short-short-long). rhythmic istic group to us andthis allows F#'s of [38]and[40]is onlya semiquaver, long class. in an equivalence them In [38] to [40], we are struckby the playof minorand majorseconds, G-F#, F#-E#, E#-G (at the join),G-F#, or inverted compound simple, Varese intervals, of small preservation thissystematic F#-G,G-F#. Through of seconds. use of clashes a special makes of the firstbarsof the work: reminiscent pattern a [42]and[43a]present
Ex.21
bs 1-2

Ws'
[42] [43ai

tsZ t

(#

" )

o ("-)

bo

tone,a descending anascending is identical: sequence Here,theintervallic of intervallic fifth.The combination diminished fourth,an ascending perfect on the note, makeseachnew broadening with theircontinuous directions one. thanthepreceding This orlower slopes,higher or descending ascending are evenif theintervals is foundelsewhere, development of motivic principle show to reinserted fromEx. 18are In Ex. 22 the twoinstances notidentical. of reliesuponthe alternation which fragments four these between the link there though even semitones, or compound andthe playof simple directions identity: is no interval

274

MUSICANALYSIS1:

3, 1982

n b
VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5: EX.22
4b 12 S,}

A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

(o)

ZX

to

StZ

bs 16-17
.s
(}

go
$0-----,<.

bs 20-21 O ta. t0 0

b.30 i,,,
o

to
-

n
-_ _ _ _X..

The thirdsection of PartII is divided intotwo'moments': first,a series of descents, then, after[41]whichrisesandfalls,the progression towards the highA of b. 32. Ex 23 showshowthe ascent to A is effected: Ex.23 4 /
. 3 [42] 3
.

[4i,

''s

[43io

4e

[43@

This is not as 'slow'or regular as the approach to high G: everything happens in a baranda half.Buttheendof [42]introduces a G#andanA not contained in [41],the second noteof [43a],Bb, is a semitone abovethe A of [42],thesecond noteof [43b] is a semitone above theBbof [43a], andthefinal A is a semitone abovethe G# of [43b].The semitone is, once again,fundamental to thissection: from[38]to [40]in thefirstsegment of C, it frames theoctave leaps; in [41]and[42]it slipsin between thewideintervals (seventh andthirteenth) andfollowsthem,but between all theseintervals (10 11 12 1+) thedifference is always a semitone. Ontherhythmic level[43a] and[43b] areof typea1and[43]as a wholeis of typeb. All of section C, then,is filled
MUSICANALYSIS1:

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275

JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ

withprogressive rhythmic types:typea from[38]to [42]andtypeb in [43]. 3. Theflights ofDensity I shallnowbreak away, exceptionally, fromtheprinciple followed fromthe beginning of thisanalysis by depariing fromthelinear unfolding of thepiece. [43]is compared withanalogous phenomena already encountered orto come. I havegiventhemthe generic name'flight':
Ex.24
bS 12-13

Theyarenot all of one type:therearebreaths in bs 13 and 16 withslurs straight afterwards in bs 13, 31, 58. But one couldsay thatthey articulate threetypesof 'crescendo': a non-metaphorical crescendo (< fff), augmentation of rhythmic values(bs 12-13:quaver, dottedcrotchet, thenquaver, dotted crotchet, semibreve; b. 16: crotchet, crotchet, semibreve; bs 31-32: semiquaver,dotted quaver,crotchet,dotted crotchet,dottedcrotchet;b.44: quaver,dottedcrotchet,dottedminim;bs 5W61:tripletcrotchet, triplet crotchet,crotchet,then quaver,crotchet)dotted crotchetand crotchet, minim,semibreve), andfinally an unrelenting risein pitch(towards E in b. 13,Gin b. 21, A in b. 32, C: in b. 44, B in b. 60).Theseflights aredifElcult to describe froma melodic pointof view:in thefivesegments there is a feeling of functional similarity, buthowis thisto be made explicit? Thereis no obvious regularity in the interval series.22 All thatcanbe observed is a certain preferencefor'taut' anddissonant intervals, butif welookat thewholepiece,there is nothing special in that.

MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

276

b.44

bs

1+R

58-61

1+R;

VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5:

A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

Theconstructional principle of theflights mustbe sought elsewhere, in the roleplayed by semitones in the appearance of newnotes: Ex.25
bS t2-13
bs b. 1 6 31-32

t
R2, * '

O b.
.

R2

{ R

! bo
7,

b{b o

bo
\

. tone ts'

\ ' 'R

\ .
0

\t+22 ' jR2


_ '

R2

80

#s'.

(R signifies octave displacement andR2 double-octave displacement) But the flightsdo not haveonlyparadigmatic analogies. Syntagmatically, theyhavea characteristic distribution. First,andmostobviously, theyendan important section (in b. 13, segment B = IV of PartI; in b. 17, PartI; in b. 32, sectionB of PartII; in b. 45, sectionA of PartIII; in b. 60, the entire piece).Equally, we see thatthepositioning of theechappees canbe studied in relation to another melodic typealready encountered - permutations. There follows a list of the two typesconcerned:
Flights
Permutations [10]

[17] [21] [43] [63] [82] [83]

[14] [18] [25] [44] [54] [59] [64] [71] [79]

_ _ -

[13] [16] [20] [27] [51] [56] [62] [70] [74] [81]

MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

277

NATTIEZ JEAN-JACQUES

bya arepreceded theflights outof five([17],[21],[63],[82]-[83]) Infourcases the since that except [63]) [43], ([7], in threecasesoutof five permutation: are they four of out cases three endsthe pieceit is literally lastechappee permutations, by framed are 'flights' two (thus, followedby a permutation of of thecontext oneaspect constitute permutations [17]and[63]).Evidently, this permutations: of context of the aspect one constitute flights,justasflights of 'Density'. element syntagmatic meloctic is an important on the left this characteristic, Finally)flightshavea thirddistributional a descending contains units two the time:in fourcasesout of five, one of interval: compound at the beginning fourth compound theflightof [17],descending (1) before of [16]; at the endof semitone compound the flightof [21],descending (2) before [20]; at the endof semitone compound the flightof [43],descending (3) before [41]; second major compound the flightof [82]and[83],descending (4) before of [81]. at the beginning thatthefirst of theflights,werecall to thecontent fora moment Returning in one- and semitone compound two ([17] and [21]) containan ascending to see if intervals andwe aretempted respectively, displacement two-octave to flights.Every relationship than an octavehave someprivileged greater notin oneof thetwounitsprecedintervals compound of descending instance minorthird;[28]-[29]:comis a join([24]-[25]:compound ing an echappee [69]semitone; compound and[33]-[34]: [32]-[33] fourth; augmented pound [74]-[75]:compound [70]: majorthirdwith doubleoctavedisplacement; outsidethe flights,seven intervals compound minorsixth).Withascending [80]-[81]:compound casesoutof tenarealsooverjoins([27]-[28], [38]-[39], [70]-[71]: semitone; compound [36]-[37],[39]-[40],[63]-[64]: second; major second major a compound perfectfourth).[24]and [77]contain compound by the will be affected The inventory semitone. and [33] has a compound observations: following and descending, ascending semitone, of a compound (1) Everyinstance of the of PartII wherebecause from[33]to [37],is foundin a section of unitsanabsolute partitioning to givetheproposed restsit is difficult oneortwounits,and[35], [31]and[32](b. 25)constitute value.Should It is [36]and[37](b. 28) one, twoor threeunits? We mighthesitate. the to examine or notjoinsareinvolved, whether interesting, therefore in sectionB. semitones of compound importance since[28]is to is posedby thejoin[27]-[28], (2) Thesametypeof problem the B. Moreover, [27]as the C::-B: trillin b. 20 wasto thepreceding in that is allthemoreappropriate is thesame.Thisassimilation interval to the flights:leap to a [24] and [27]-[28]are not withoutanalogy
MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

278

VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5:

A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

muchhighernote, crescendo, contextof permutation. It will laterbe shown thatunit[77]couldhavebeenconsidered anechappee wereit not 'afflicted' with a diminuendo. If, therefore, 'assimilated flights'seems appropriate, it is interesting to note that [24], [27]-[28]and [77] all contain a compound major second. Allothercases- except thedebatable exampleof [36]-[37]from sectionA of PartII - are clearly positioned at joins ([38]-[39],[39]-[40],[63]-[64],[70]-[71],[80][81]) (3) Oncetwoof thesixdescending intervals havebeenlocated in section A, the otherfour([24]-[25],[28]-[29],[69]-[70],[74]-[75]) areclearly at
olns.

On the basis of these observations and distinctions, a table of the distribution of compound intervals in the piececanbe formulated:
Ascendingintervals Beforea flight Descendingintervals Tritone Semitone Semitone Majorsecond Semitone Semitonein double-octave displacement Tone Tone Tone Semitone Semitone
Semitone

[17] [20] [41] [81]

Withina flight

[17] [21] [20] [27]- [28] [77] [33] [36]- [37] [39][63][38][80][70][40] [64] [39] [81] [71] Semitone Semitone Minorthird Tritone Augmented fifth Majorsixth [32]- [33] [33]- [34]

In an assimilated flight PartII, SectionA


Joins

Tone Perfect Fourth


MUSIC ANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

[24][69][28][74]-

[25] [70] [29] [75]

279

t
JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ

It was[43]whichmotivated thisdigression. It is thethirdof thefiveflights and,in a way,it is central. The firstflightendson a highE, the second on a highG (b. 17),thehighest noteup to thatpoint.G thendisappears foreleven bars,andreappears as highG in b. 29. It is usurped in b. 31 by A. The last flightconcludes the pieceon a highB, the privileged notefromsection C of PartI, absent fromthefirsttwosections of PartII. G, A andB maintain their privileged relationship in termsof immediate context,of registerand of distribution. Thethirdsection of PartII is in fact,a permutation zonewhere the intermediary F# inserts itselfbetween B andA. 4. Permutations of B, F# andA (bs32-36) A does not play a role comparable to thatof G. Hereit closessegment [44]-[45] witha longnote,butin [51]it is B thatclosesthe secondsegment withthesamevalue(adotted minim). Thezoneof A is, in fact,intermediary: the restof the pieceprepares the climax of the workon highB. Aftera briefpassage in a slower tempo(crotchet = 60, bs 29-32)theinitial tempo returns in [44].TheB-F#-A adopts, in thesameregister, thelasttwo notesof the flight, fillingthem out, and, as GillesNaud pointsout, the rhythm of the beginning of [44]is related to thatof [43]: [43] = semiquaver, dottedquaver, crotchet, [44] = tripletsemiquaver, triplet dottedquaver, tripletcrotchet In [44]thereis a triplet andin [43]the G# is a crotchet, butthe articulation pointof eachnoteis, in bothcases,proportionally comparable in relation to the preceding one. Thus, this openingsectionborrows its rhythmic and melodic components fromthepreceding echappee, andthewholeof section C will be castin the ambitof its lasttwonotes.But consider the development from[44]: Ex.26
s . ,

gr

280

MUSICANALYSIS1 : 3, 1982

r
VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5: A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

This paradigm is melodic,but the onlyrational partitioning musttakeinto account the slurwhichlinksthe lastB of b. 32 to b. 33:
Ex.27 [440
& . .

i4
1

t460
&

3
.

9 g

3
,

_#t
[48S 8 -

T;
1

Thisis certainly theonlyplace in thepiecewhere a segment is repeated. There is, of course,a transformation (elision of the A) at the endof [47], but [48], whichprolongs it, adoptsmelodically the last two notesof [44] and [46]. Hencethe A from[47] in Ex. 27 iS in brackets: Varese cannot accept a strict repetition. The similarity between [45] and[46] iS SO great that,according to the principle of deception, it arrests the momentum tovvards A the second slurendson theFt. How,then,is thesubsequent musicto be analysed? The problem is identical to thatencountered in bs 10-13. Rhythmic transformationswill nowbe shownin relation to the melodic invariant: E>c.28

X [Q]t
E i O-----n

L.ME
[502 8 ---- - -- -n

r#S
3 25 1] ,< 3
;

60 ,

3ar^: _

G7'SS''

MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

281

JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ

It is in extremis that [51] reintroduces the B. Note that, melodically, [51] adoptsthe descending succession A-F#-B whichconcludes b. 32, but as always theunitwhich creates thisequivalence is imaginary, because of theslur whichseparates [44]from[45].23 Rhythmically and intervallically, this sectionis distinguished from the preceding andensuing sections bytheabsence of semitones, thelarge number of minor thirds,perfect fifthsandminorsevenths, andby typesa1,b ande: I [44] a1 a1 7a 3a 3d (7d) [45] b lOa lOd 7a 3a (lOa) II [46] a1 a1 7a 3a 3d (7d) [47] b lOa lOd 7a (3a) III [48] a1 3d (3a) [49] e 3d (3a) [50] e 3d (3a) [51] b 3d 7d The breathbetween[45] and [46], like the repeatof the same units in [46]-[47],justifies the demarcation of segments I andII. Segment III, up to the falling fifth(F#-B), is dominated by minorthirds.The rhythmic types, then, havea characteristic distribution: a1 is alwaysat the beginning of a section,b at the endande in an intermediate position. 5. Theendof PartII (bs36-40) Section C hasdeveloped on the samethreenotes:C, a semitone abovethe preceding B, seemsto be an intruder. Armedwith a tripleforte,it is the culmination of the crescendo begunat the end of b. 35, but because of unit [53],it willbe linked to E. ThisC caneasily beaccepted asmarking theendof sectionC andthe beginning of sectionD: Ex.29

X ''7^t'lr .
[5! t9i
?

055] ,

>y

SU6fb

fp

282

MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

'DENSITY21.5: VARESE'S

ANALYSIS A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL

Lt

, 7

L572--I
[56 SP

br
2^" '2 '

vr

fP

In the sameway, it does not matterwhetherthe Eb of [53]is the end of [53]or makes it a the beginningof [54]. We attachit to [53] since the diminuendo of C andof the firstEb. In contrast,thetton D isolates[54]with prolongation shows thing is thatthe rest of the paradigm its own slur. The most important how [54]-[58] is constructedin relationto Eb, D and Db by a play of permutationswhich can be read from the table above. Rhythmicallyand the finalnote by the sameprocedure:24 [55]-[58]is characterised dynamically, ([55], [57], and staccato it is eitherpiano of the four units is alwaysshortened; note. [58])or of a shorterwrittenduration([56])andfollowsan accentedforte rather is types of rhythmic In the sectiontaken as a whole, the distribution al three times, b once, c twice, e once, and [56] which is the only scattered: There are, therefore,roughlyas many short-long exampleof b inverted.25 types as long-short.The intervallicdistribution,combinedwith the zones among which the differentnotes are divided (C-Eb / D-Eb / Eb-Db-B) with delineatesthree segmentsin this section, wherethe semitonealternates majorsixths, where the semitoneclasheswith the tone and where the final fourth.The wholeis, however,dominated diminished intervalis a descending by a tendency to descent, felt from [51] of the previoussection. The first segmentends on Eb, the secondon D (a semitonelower)and the thirdon B the lowest note of section D: the B dominatedsection C but had not been heardagain. and hesitations.SectionA: two PartII can be describedas full of contrasts zones (E-Ct-D and Ct-D-G:). Section B: three rapid falls, permutation zone (B-F:-A). Section D: then flight to high A. Section C: permutation zone on Db-D-Eb. WhilePartI wascharactedescentto B with permutation rised by the rise to high G, Part II, with its varieduse of rhythmictypes, and this is partly dynamicsand melodicdirections,seems to be intermediary zones'. Evidently,three segmental due to the largenumberof 'permutation types will have three functions in this piece: the permutationis stagnant, a semitonehigher;or of a new note whichis generally delayingthe appearance oblique paradigmsallow the piece to progress;or rapid flights lead to a actsas a climax.Betweenthem, these typesset up a dialectic:the permutation it flights the and to the obliqueparadigms brakeon development in relation on restores, Varese tension. of favoursa periodof rest ratherthan moments
MUSICANALYSIS1:

3, 1982
283

JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ

another level,whatthetonal system is nolonger ableto offer,byalternation of distinct functional types. III PARTIII(bs41-61)

1. Reprise oftheopening (bs4143) Fromb.41 thereis a reprise. The initialtemporeturns (crotchet = 72)while [59]is an exacttransposition, a semitone above[1], of the firstthreenotesof thepiece,whichpermits a direct arrival on G without the 'suspensions' of [2]. This is probably why it is repeated (withdurational shortening of the G) without intermediary development in unit [60]: Ex.30
01 ]

4
mf

F,
r - e

_J_,>
J

w
J)

S W4
-

p 26i 3

p [610 3

P=r

1e1

2
3

26i

i2xJ :

2sJ q;t

06$

Lg

b^t?t-

Thisparadigm is simple: thenotesin unit[61]arepermuted, thentheorder at theheadof theparadigm returns in [62].It is interesting to trace theorigin of the D andthe Ab of [62]: Ex.31
[lg
g
[2] 3

t$s t(F"_,
[62]

r
3

284

to

b.

MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

'DENSITY21.5: VARESE'S

ANALYSIS A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL

in thefirsttwo contour of themelodic transposition [62]is anexactmelodic to theopening. of [59]to [62]arenotidentical unitsof thepiece.Therhythms in [S9]and[60],typea2of [1] occurs. However, the intervallic analysed, beforethe flight of [63], already Interestingly, growth A of PartI, in theprogressive to section someanalogy bears syntagm to the tritone: fromthe semitone of the sameintervals, A I [S9] a2 II [60] a2 [61] a2 [62] b ld ld la ld 2a (ld) 2a (2d) la (ld) 2a Sd 6a (la)

to rise whichis with the tendency together progression, This intervallic of anAb(notyetheard), at theendof unit[62]withtheintroduction initiated types,a2andb: it is easyto see, here, rhythmic by progressive is reinforced of a2 howb is an expansion in Ex. 24, on theD of [62]. of theflights wasbegun,in respect Theanalysis Ab andA between isolate[63].Thecaesura clearly Buttheslurandcrescendo withD. in the risebeginning 'deception' is another onB-D (bs4S50) 2. Permutations for playingon two Afterthe flight, Varesereturnsto his predilection in bs 9 and10. the wayDb andC areexploited notes:thisrecalls alternating thenotes above a semitone respectively, positioned, are at issue TheB andD compound Ct, a in by is brought moreover, The D, Ct). of the flight(Bb to predominate: aboveit. Thistime,the D appears semitone Ex.32
[6 i 8 , 3 , ----- n

t)

L68-.---------------------,

3 t6 6] ;

3 3 - -- - - - - - - - --- -- - '

f
Y

ft'
,

MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

285

JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ

26703

'

fS
[ , s

f
,

06!

Thisis doubtless because of rhythmic typesa andb whichconfer a longvalue on the finalD's:
Ex.33

[ ]
r65]

G
3

5 G
3

r r, ;
r
(a2,
3

G
3

G
3

0660

: :
3 3

r r r 5
3 >s3

(a2 ) (a1 )
S
(a1

067]

0680

r
G

r G
C
f

[69]

( b)

Lessimportant thanG andB, D nevertheless playsa decisive rolein certain intermediary moments: it closestheplayaround B in b. 21;wefindit again in a privileged paradigmatic position in bs 25, 26and28;it willreturn before the finalflightas the uppernote of the permutations of bs 5S58. It owesits particular importance to the registral leapafterC# of [63]whichmakes it the highestnoteof the piece.

286

MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

ff

VARESE'S 'DENSITY 21.5: A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

Thiswholesection of alternating B'sandD's endson a littlemelodic figure whichis the inversion of the initialF-E-F# andoutlines a finaldescent: Ex.34
st to ne

,2

X
1

{w O #.
st 3 tone

11-1 5 .
f P

[70]is treated as anappendix to section B forseveral reasons: first,because theopeningfffistheendof thecrescendo from[69];second, because there is a breathonly in the middleof the bar;finallybecause the character of the section beginning with[71]is quitedifferent. 3. Thelastsegment(bsSI-61) Thisdoesnot mean,as in previous cases,thatthereareno linksbetween thisfinal'phrase' andwhatprecedes it. Between C andF# of [71]wehavethe samedescending tritoneas betweenD and Ab of b. 50 in double-octave displacement. But,above all, [71]bears somerelation to thewidedescending intervals in rapid rhythm of [38],[39]and[40],and,to a lesserextent,[53]: Ex.35, 7 t539 ^
r
070

>

'_
s

[54] ff

[72]v.

<:+

r
3

A:
3

SfP rP SL,4Jb; ()
,_

MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

287

JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ

tW*-*s s [SS WS

t1
,

>
(_) 077

[d
3

'

JR

br F:
crcsc. rnolto

[29I'/

fE

>

-ff4;
[802

>

t82]e,

te

Eventhough [71]begins witha C and[38]witha G, thefallto F#- E# on a practically identical rhythm andthedemisemiquaver Cmake comparison with [38]legitimate. Thisparadigmatic tableshowsthe rhythmic transformations in relation to melodicdata,but the implicit unitswhichemergecannotbe retained because the slurshavetheupper hand.Numbers [74]and[75]mark theboundaries of morerealunits.Ex. 35 thusbrings twocontradictory levels of segmentation together. It willbe noticed that[72]and[53]areimmediately followed by a unitof thesamerhythmic type([73]and[54]),e, whichalsohas the samenumber of notes. From[75]onwards, the composer is slidingto another paradigmatic axis. Ex. 35 demonstrates thatthisentire concluding segment (from b. 51)forms a whole, sincewe progress towards the finalhigh B by successive changes. These changesare of a particularly characteristic nature: in [75], E# (F) becomes E, a semitone below.TheC on theleftof theparadigm becomes C# (a semitone higher).[76] marksthe firstattempt at melodicflight:for the moment we stayon G, a semitone above thenewF#, itselfa toneabove E. In [77],as in bs 5 and6, Varese adopts twopreceding notesandrisesto A26 (a compound toneabove theG). [78]introduces a Bb, thepitch-class a semitone aboveA of [77]. In [79], D, a seventh (inversion of the second) fromE, is added. [80]and[81]playonC, E, D, [82]takes theBbof [78]which thusfills in theinterval E-D of [79].Therefollows thefinalflight,whoseconstruction
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'DENSITY21.5: VARESE'S

ANALYSIS A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL

withthewayin in Ex. 24, together is shown on playsof tonesandsemitones, B. whichit endson the fallsof bs 51 and52, Thisendingis thusa resume of all thatprecedes: A andB andthe final G then on the progression permutations, play of the to to return tendency The previously. encountered all procedures are flight sections, two preceding for the which wenoted thefirsttwoparts, from events a undertakes Varese whatgoesbefore, recalled having here:after is confirmed pointwhichG andA prepare. riseto the lastclimatic IV RECAPITULATION of the to give a globalpicture pagesattempts The tableon the following whichhave elements in synopticform, the essential piece by assembling, (Part parts atfourlevels: Ontheleft, segmentation thisanalysis. underpinned data: rhythmic andunits.Thenthethreeprinciple segments I etc.), sections, and melodicpattern.On the right, a general sequences types, intervallic of progresin units:zonesof permutation, of the syntagms characterisation sion,of flightandof descent.27 for variables: otherdescriptive havecarried Thistablecould,in addition, to the piece.But bothof whichareessential slursanddynamics, example, the unitsso thatI pages,to delineate theyaroseaboveall, in the preceding themhere. to include it unnecessary consider

MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

289

PartI Segmentation Rhythmictypes


a2

Intervallicsequences ld 2a (Sa) Sa Sd 6a (2d) ld 2a (la) 6d 6a (ld) la ld (2d) 3d 6a (6d) 6a 2a la (3d) 3a 3d (3a) 2a (la) ld la (ld) la (ld) la ld (la) ld 2a (6a) 6d (6d) 6a (6a) Sd + 6a 6a (6a) 12d l+a (l+d)

Melodic Patt

I [1] [2] II [3] [4] III [s] [6] B I [7] II [8] [9] III [10]
[11]

d
a2

d
a2

"d" b c or e
al a2 al

C$G/A-Bb G - Bb
/C

Db -C /D G#- D /A- D: A-Bb - E

[12] [13] IV [14]


[15]

b
a2 al al

[16] V [17]

b b

[31]

al

3a

(lOa)

/D

Segment

ation VI [18] [19] [20] [21]

Rhythmictypes a2 c al al la++ d d d a2 d al

Intervallicsequences ld 2a (2d) 2a (2d) l+d (la) (8d)+ ld la (O) 2d 2a 3d (3a) 2a+ ld 2a (3+d) ld la (2d) la la (2d) la (2a )

Melodicpat

E - D# - F

/F

: Ia

[22] [23] [b [24] Ia [25] [26] [273

B-A#

/A B+C# B# D B-A#

/B

Part II A

I [29] [30]

e e to semiquaver e l+a (l+d)

3d (3a) 3d 0 (O)

E - C#

[33]

C#-D-G#

Segmentation

Rhythmictypes

Intervallic sequences

Melodicpat

/Eb
a3

I [38] [39] [40] II [41] [42] [43] I [44] [45] II [46] [47] III [48] [49]
[50] [51]

a2 a3 a2 a2

b
al al

ld 12d ld (2+a) ld 12d(l+a) ld 12d ld (O) lOdlla la l+d(la) la la (Sa) 6a lOa3a lOa(lOd)
7a 3a 3d (7d) lOa lOd 7a 3a (lOa) 7a3a3d(7d) lOa lOd 7a (3a) 3d (3a) 3d (3a) 3d (3a) 3d7d(1a)

G-F$E:

IG-G$A E-Bb-G$B-

KFFA

b
al al

b
al

e e b

oQ

I -t-t t

ffi

+m

-t

v)

-t

ffi

-t

VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5:

A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

'e

t:
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A=t

u)

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-v CC

>
Q

r < E-vt
Lo

'e C

cC: -ooN t

r
v

r
v

t
Ct Ce

r
,/ m

CC:
m

-v m

s} o 'e

-v s} 'e m 't

Ct

Ct

'e t

'e r

Ct r

Ct

u)
Q

u)

+
.= = -o

ce D

X ce =

t) t

ce

ce

ct

D D

ce ce ce

N -

m ,
I

t m

V m

S m
.

X m .

v)

* v

ct

bt ct

293

Segmentation [68] [69] III [70]


A I [71] [72] [73] [74] [75] IIa [76] [77] [78] IIb [79] [80] [81] [82] [83]

Rhythmictypes al b e
a3 al

Intervallicsequences

Melodicpat

e
c

c+ d
a2

b d b
al

e b b

6d ld (7a) 6d (ld) 7a 6d (la) 7a (8+d) 2d ld 3a 3d (3a) 2d la (3d) 3a 2+a (lld) 6d 6a (lOd) 4a lOa(lOd) 4d (2+a) 2+d 4a (6a) 4a 4a 7a (2a) 2a 2a 6a

SF$E:

/E E-F$G CE-D

IA /B

Bb-D-F$C D$EtB

o o}^,4 ...

... * 4O ho I I I o

.,

bo

VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5:

A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

The 'melodic pattern'column summarizesa phenomenonwhich has been discussedconstantlyhere the progressionof the piece by a successionof zones of privilegednotes which are overshotby new addednotes. This gives the followingoverallpicture: Ex.36,partone
[1]-L63

'>P
[70

t82-t9]

b.

d-[120 E
bo .,
,.,

L1 30

E40-05]
o

01 6,
o

[170

[180-[19]
0 >, o

21]

o >
[2i-S2@
" g o

L2- [280

"

MUSICANALYSISl: 3 , 1982

295

[38}[42]

Xo

[43]

JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ E>c.36, part two


[29]-032] [33]_[370

4 14
-$ o

#
I o b l

[44]-05 1]

[52]-[53]

0540-[570

058]

- b

Xo

1x^ bo | b*. <

Ex.36,part
0590-2620

three
,,

bn"-

vo
264]-0690

' g bsw 14vw


[700

40 1S4nW [ ]eLL [7SS

[76,

L7d 29][8t]

i2]-g83]

#E"+Z_

Theprogression to highG in b. 17is followed by a zoneof hesitation which alsobelongs to B (bs 18-23).PartII, divided intofour'moments', comprises: playaround E, C#, D, thenC#, D, G#;successive fallsthena climax on A; playaround B, F#, A; playaround C, Eb, D, Db. PartIII contains: reprise, permutations on B;D anda finalphrase. Four syntagmatic familiesmay be extracted fromthe melodicpattern: permutation, progression, flight,descent.Usinga horizontal line ( ) for permutation, anoblique line( / ) forprogression, anarrowed oblique line( / ) for flights,and a descending obliqueline ( \ ) for descent,we obtainthe following general picture of the piece: PartI _/_/ PartII _/_/\//_ Part III _// /
/

/t

/\/_/

296

MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5': A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

Thisplanshowsclearly the tendencies of eachpart:PartI-ascent,PartII hesitation, PartIII ascent-descent-ascent. Throughout the analysis, the sections andsegments havebeendifferentiatedmostoftenby contrast: A of PartI groups together rhythmic typesa2 andd, whereas III of B in the samepartis characterised by successions of semitones. Duringthe courseof the analysis dominant variables havebeen emphasised moment by xnoment. The complete tableenables an assembly to be madeof all the components of the musical material andconsequently to replace dominant variables by thosewhicharenot dominant. Thiskindof tablealsomakes it possible to verify whether or notthereis a correlation between twophenomena. By definition, thefoursegmental types ontheright arecorrelated withthemelodic patterns andintervallic sequences. Do they correspond to the rhythmic types?A hypothesis is that regular typeswill correspond to stagnant zonesof permutation, thattypesa, b, c (augmentation) willcorrespond to zonesof progression, etc. Thepartitioning of the fourfunctional typesis nowprojected ontothe rhythmic types(noting thattheydo not necessarily correspond to segments andsections): Permutation a2d a2d a2d a2al b al al a2c al al a2d al e e al eee al al b al al b ae e b e al al c a2a2a2 b a2a2al al b a3al e c b al e Progression b c or e al a2 b a2 a3a2a3a2 a2 b al b c b a2b d bb b e cd Flight b al d Descent

dd

Tryaswemight,noparticular correlation canbediscerned between rhythmic andfunctional types.This negative resultis still progress: unlessthereare gaps in our inventory of variables whichcouldalwaysbe filled in by another researcher it shows thattheimpression of stagnation orprogression is dueonlyto modalities of the melodic line. The valueof the procedure followedis, in any case, obvious:without relying on the complete table,particularly lookingat functions in termsof
MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

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JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ

variables, it could have been statedthat rhythmic type b was absolutely characteristic of theflight(b fivetimes,asopposed to a1andd1once),which is truein a way,but b is foundsix timesin thepermutations andfourtimesin the progressions whereit is as frequent as a2. It is impossible to claim, therefore, thatb is therhythmic variable which corresponds to theflightsince it is foundelsewhere, in combination withothervariables. The sameis true fore, mostly sitedin permutation zones(except onecaseof descent) where we findalltheother variables too.A variable is notpertinent in relation to a given function,28 in anyabsolute sense,and,exceptin the caseof b, theredo not appear to be any correlations strongenoughto extracttendencies of any interest. Here,the flightis, in fact, a special,distributionally privileged case(five occurences) in the progression: if we lookat the kindsof unitsin whichb is found,we canstatethatin twelve casesoutof seventeen, theseunitsendwith oneorseveral ascending intervals (insevencasesoutof twelve,alltheintervals ascend). It appears to be possibleto establish, on anot)zer level,correlations between two or moreparticular variables entered in the table. Thereis no recipeforfinding interesting combinations: the analysis functionson the basisof hypotheses whichcanbe neither confirmed norrefuted unless a taxonomic description is available which is asresponsible andexhaustive as possible.This is doneby 'churning' the data,thatis, projecting the characteristics of one datum ontoanother, starting withthoseintuitively felt to be the most promising.29 It was shown,for example,that flightshad particular internal and distributional characteristics (sectionII/3). Studyof the table revealsthat, withinone segment,thereare manypermutations followed immediately by a progression. Theseare: PartI PartIII B III [10]-[12]/[13] IV [14]-[15]/[16] VI [16]-[20]/[21] A I [59]-[61]/[62] C IIa [79]-[81]/]82]-[83]

Withthe exception of [25]-[27]/[28],theseparadigms showan interesting rhythmic analogy:

298

MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

JJ$Sy 1F ; r > v %
5

^l

Ea
-

>>
g

VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5': A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS E>t. 37

E00-E3q

E 4]-016]

E8]-t2lt

tS
6 Ll;

w r
E
tf r
43

5
2tG

-z

4
[794-t820

[59]-[620

[440_[45]

..1d1 t #zi e-

A*m
C-

5,

bJ

]3.1

b9
| / s

Before thenotewhichcreates theprogression, at thebottom of theparadigm, thereis rhythmic acceleration throughthe use of the tripletafterbinary rhythms andanincrease in thenumber of notesin thelastunit(except in the first case).Thesame procedure willhavebeennotedin [44]-[45], butthereit does notleadto a progression. It is rareforoneprocedure to be encountered in 100% of cases:musical styleis not a system. Let us lookat the permutations on two notes: Db- C B - A: E - C: F:
D - B

[10]-[13] [25]-[28] [29]-[31] [49]-[511


L

semitone minorthird

[64]-[69]

MUSIC ANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

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JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ

Theintervallic constant is in itselfremarkable. It becomes evenmoreremarkablewhenit is noticedthatthe firsttwo followpassages whichcontain no intervals greater thana minor third.As fortheother three permutations, they appear aftersegments wherethe perfectfifth is present,one of the rarest intervals in thepiece,foundonlyin [51],[73]-[74] and[82].It is therefore no exaggeration to postulate a correlation between permutations on two notes, theinterval of a minor thirdanda context in whichtheperfect fifthappears. Still more little correlations could probablybe found in this piece. Moreover, theglobal perspective of ourneutral analysis in musical semiology is, we know,stylistic: thismeans thatif otherworks by Varese areanalysed, it shouldbe possible to pick out fromour tablecorrelations or phenomena whose identification is not permittedby 'Density'alone. Returning to 'Density' on the basisof a widerfield of workswouldbe thatmuchmore efficient, giventhatwe wouldalready havedrawn up a pretty detailed inventoryof variables. Theneutral level,it mustbe stressed, is onlya 'moment' of analysis. A few general observations on the methodology usedhere: (1) It is possibleto partition parameter by parameter, but the global segmentations performed on the syntagmatic chainare the resultof intuition about theconvergence of different variables ata givenmoment andthe hierarchic dominance of someof these.The collation of information, parameter by parameter, variableby variable,shows the constitution of theglobal segment. Thisglobal segment canbe deduced fromthe sum of the individual segmentations, but only to describe texture. Thereis, therefore, no logical or necessary order according to whichan analysis shouldbe conducted and presented: here,as elsewhere,the orderof reasoning does not coincidewith the orderof discovery. (2) One particular consequence of this principleis manifestin the construction of equivalence classes:when the assimilation the of rhythms of [1], [3] and [5] was proposed, in spite of theirphysical differences, it wasnotonlybecause thesedifferences wereminimal, but because, onanother level, melodic identity (F-E-F#) induced anassembly of theserhythmic units.It is impossible to say,therefore, thatthe rhythmic analysis is purelyrhythmic: in fact) otherparameters are takeninto account. The resultof all thisis a mixture. (3) I havespoken several timesofprojectzon. Thishasa double role.First,it permits theevaluation of theroleof onevariable in relation to another, as in the previous case. But it also has an heurtstic value:it enables interesting correlations to be discovered between variables of different types.Consequently, thereis no limitto thenumber of projections it is possible to perform fromone variable ontoanother: thisis essentially why analysis is endless,andevenif one hopesto put one'sfingeron somecharacteristic correlations, thereis stillthe conviction thatother
MUSICANALYSIS1:

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'DENSITY21.5: VARESE'S

ANALYSIS A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL

may have escapedour attention.There are, equallyvalid relationships therefore, no rigorous rules for determiningwhich projectionswill prove viable. We can procedeonly by trialand error. are establishedbetweendisparatecharacterisations (4) Thus, correlations of of differenttypes and levels: one exampleof this is the distribution flights. This is identified, on the left, by a descendingcompound typesin general,or than interval,a moreconcretedatumthanrhythmic type b which, positionedat the end of a segmentand with its play of its content. semitonesin the pitch structure,characterises (5) A great deal of intuition enters into the research,but althoughthe objective of taxonomic clarificationis confirmation,it may equally phase,for rests: This wasthe case,in the research resultin invalidation. it was assumedthat they could be enteredin differentclassesaccording to the type of segmentthey delineated.A study of the taxonomicdata constantis the unusualpresenceof rests revealsthatthe only interesting sectionof Part II one of its characteristics. in the 'percussive' V POIETICANALYSIS Severaltimes, here and elsewhere,there has been occasionto recallthe fact stagein the semiological that neutralanalysisis an essentialbut intermediary the intentionis to section the ensuing and In this works. musical to approach and esthesic of poietic those relate to analysis of neutral the data show how analysis.

problem poietic 1. The


There are two ways in which the phenomenacataloguedby the neutral analysiscan be consideredpoieticallypertinent.To the extent that analysis left by the composer. deals with the score, it is directed at the only trace demonstratethe traits recurrent that to consider Thereforeit is possible they enjoy procedures; compositional certain of the composerfor preferences is confirmed presumption This of poietic pertinence. the presumption traits (don'twe these contain if otherworksby the samecomposer particularly of knowledge historical if our say 'he likes to do this, he likes to do that'?),or heritage of the basis on the that, establishes the evolutionof musicallanguage by Varesewhen he beganto compose,he decidedto receivedandexperienced practicein this or that direction.30 orienthis compositional This poietic proceduremay be qualifiedas inductive: poietics; neutrallevel

But it is just as feasibleto startwith an externalpoieticelement-a sketch, a roughdraft,a commentary- and projectit onto the work, eitherto directthe 3, 1982

MUSICANALYSIS1:

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JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ

analysis accordingly, or to reorganise the neutral level,constructed independentlyof the external datum: ; work poietic data
>

or neutral level

In the first, inductive perspective, whichtraitsidentified by the neutral analysis havea poieticpresumption? (a) Theprinciple of deception: I haveshown howit governed developmental procedures, at the sametime frustrating the expectations of the Western listener. Thus, the procedures described standout fromthe wide rangeof habitshandeddownby the dynamics of the romantic musical phrase,whoseprinciples of progression andelevation Varese preserves but constantly contradicts. (b) Theprinciple of maximal differentiation: on theneutral levelrhythmic equivalence classeswere constructed (typesa to e), but it must be remembered thatVarese is careful to writevalues whichareas distinct as possible fromone another. Oneof his favourite procedures consists of multiplying thenumber of dotsfromthebasisof a givenvalue(asin Integrales). Slurs,tripletquavers or semiquavers introduce subtledifferentiations frombinaryvalues.Equivalence groupings have,therefore, a presumption of esthesicpertinence aboveall in oneparticular case.Thisdoesnotmean thatthedifference between a crotchet tiedto a semiquaver anda crotchet tiedto a triplet semiquaver is imperceptible, but it cannotbe perceived on the samelevel. The discernment of a rhythmic progression (typesa andb) andthediscernment of a minimal difference between two valuesarenot incompatible. Detailed experimentswouldin anycasebe required to establish the threshold below whichtwo unitsareconfused andabovewhichtheyaredistinguished fromone another. (c) Thepoeitic counterpart to thealternation tension/relaxation, thatis, the methods chosenby Varese to createthis esthesic effect:playof semitones,dissonant intervals, crescendi, the configuration of flightson the one hand,andthe permutations of stagnant zoneson the other. Butin the second perspective, thereis a comment by Varese on 'Density', published, without reference to its source, by HildaJolivet, givenherein its entirety:
Despite the monodiccharacter of 'Density21.5', the rigidityof its structure is definedovertlyby the harmonicschemecarefullydescribedin the

302

MUSICANALYSIS1:

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VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5:

A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

unfoldingof the melody. 'Density 21.5' is based on two short melodic ideas, the first, modaland in binaryrhythm,which beginsand ends the piece, and the second, atonal and in ternary rhythm, which lends elasticityto the shortdevelopments separating reiterations of the firstidea (Jolivet1973: 110).

I shall use this external poieticdocument in a preciseperspective: after makirlg an appraisal, its contents will be applied to the configurations of the neutral analysis in orderto reorganise it. The objective is obviously to comparethe two pictures of the workthusobtained andto definethe statusof neutral analysis in relation to this kindof poieticanalysis.
2. Melodic poietics

We begin by examining the secondpart of this text whichdealswith melodic ideas.Thequalifications 'modal' and'atonal' willbe setasidesince,if the two ideascorrespond as I believeto [1] and [2], it is not clearthatthe second should be moreatonal thanthefirst,or thefirstmoremodal thanthe second.One couldobservesoundphilological principles and turnto other textsby Varese, in an attempt to shedlighton the meaning of thesewords. ButVarese wasno theoretician, andnothing in hiswritings (1983) helpsus to understand whathe means, here,by 'modal'. Withregard to 'atonality', these twoquotations canbe set off against eachother:
[In contemporary music],whetherwe deny its presenceor not, we sensea tonality.Thereis no need to havea tonic, with its thirdandfifth, in order to establisha tonality(1934). My languageis naturallyatonal, althoughcertainthemes, certainnotes repeatedin the mannerof tonics, constituteaxes aroundwhich sound massesappearto agglomerate. In this way, musicaldevelopment grows, little by little, throughthe repetitionof certainelementswhich are presentedn eachtime, in a differentaspect,andinterestincreases throughthe oppositionof planesand the movementof perspectives.If themesreappear, they have a differentfunctionin a new medium:dynamics(1930).

All of thislasttextcouldbe applied to 'Density 21.5',butit doesnothelpto pinpoint the meaning of 'atonal' as opposed to 'modal': on the basisof these twoquotations the piececouldbe qualified 'tonal' justas muchas 'atonal'. Thebinary/ternary opposition is more telling.I havetherefore played along andconstructed a paradigmatic table where axesof equivalence aredefined by the rhythmic character of units,binary or ternary (Ex. 38 below).The first axistherefore contains [1] andits transformations. Noticethat[5]hashadto be placed in the second axisbecause its rhythm is ternary. [71]and[72]have beenplaced in the firstaxisbecause of theiranalogous distributional position andparadigmatic linkwith[1]through theintermediary [38].Thesecond axis contains all theunitswithat leastone 'irregular' value.Therefore a thirdaxis must be opened,one not mentioned by Varese,whichgroupstogether all unitsthatareneither 'areturn to thefirstidea',norin ternary rhythm, thatis,
MUSICANALYSIS1:

3, 1982

303

Lf

JEAN-JACQUES NA1YIEZ

Es.38 tr]

t22

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04 ]

1D 1
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L ] j [2 3]
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[27]

ag

L2 90 r
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304
MUSICANALYSIS1:

3, 1982

:bS
'

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VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5': A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Ex.38 cont.


2300
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306

MUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

'DENSITY21.5: VARESE'S

ANALYSIS A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL

unit ternary of another thereturn unitandprecede thosethatfollowa ternary or of the first'idea'. First, it must incite us to from this example? Whatmay be concluded this information of caution: with a measure poieticinformation approach We have precise.31 whichis not systematically a fieldof equivalence defines saysthat Varese and'modal'. 'atonal' the designations hadto discard already atb. 42of repetition in strict in fact,it lastappears thepiece: thefirstideaends between he talksof 'shortdevelopments' barwork.Moreover, a sixty-one is by farthefullest paradigm ideas,butthesecond of twomelodic reiterations is adopted forthefirst).If thehypothesis to twelve unitsasopposed (forty-five I, the notto [1], butto segment ideacorresponds thatthe firstbasicmelodic but the first'idea'is no longershortor is defactoshortened, development units) therest axis(twenty-four thethirdparadigmatic Finally, binary. Varesedoes not mentionit. In fact, it wouldbe is far from negligible: quotedby Hilda of the text by Varese to knowthe exactsource interesting message? note, personal spokenwords,programme the composer's Jolivet: transcribed? Hasit beencorrectly set out abovefor of the principles allowsa stretching This poieticlaxness value,butas [1]is an irregular of axes:[1] and[60]contain the construction that the as binary,it may be supposed the one Varesequalifies precisely sinceit has at theend)is negligible, placed semiquaver (triplet aspect ternary The sameis true whenF: ([1])is articulated. overthe moment no influence in this case,alsocomesfromthe fact for the finalD of [13], but hesitation, as an entity. that,as in [7], the longvaluesbelongto a unitdefined it to ourstudy.Indeed interest of thethirdaxisis of great Theexamination of a poieticdatumonto the neutrallevel can showsthat the projection Thatis notall:the itsvalidity. losing dessnption theneutral it, without reorganise not been analysis wouldnot be whatit is hadthe neutral poieticdescription first. performed maybe entered Theunitsit contains goesto makeup thisthirdaxis? What n tourcategorles:
* ,* .

there units:[23],[49],[52],[53],[54],[75]and[80]where (1) Descending unitsnotin thisaxis type.Theonlydescending rhythmic is noprivileged to I havedecided are[38]to [40], [58]and[70]:the firstthreebecause idea';[58]and[70]arethe only them,here,withthe 'initial assimilate unitsin the secondaxis. descending as flightsarein the thirdaxis.Theseunitswere (2)All the unitsqualified Theflights in augmentation). by typeb (rhythm seento be characterised together. maythusbe drawn whichis also units,[9], [27]and[69],havea rhythm (3) Threeascending (a1twice,b once). progressive unitsin the axis: theotherascending together groups (4) The lastcategory ([31],[32],[34],[36],[37]), section to thepercussive fiveof thesebelong the other,[74],is a hapax.
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JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ

Whatmightbe concluded fromthisdivision? It confirms thefinalposition of unitsof progressive types(a1andb) andascending direction, sincematerial separating twoternary unitsora ternary unitanda return to theinitial ideais placedin the thirdaxis. In as muchas Varese does not speakof flightsas specific procedures, one mightwonder whether he waspoietically conscious of them,but this distribution according to the threeaxes(of whichone was obtained bydifferences) shows thatthethree principles of construction in this pieceare:the initialbinary idea, the ternary transition, and the ascending unitswithprogressive rhythm whose finaldistribution constitutes a characteristicstylistic element of Varese's musical rhetoric. By numbering unitsaccording to the paradigms in whichtheybelong,the syntagmatic poieticorganisation of the piecemaybe presented thus: I II I (II)x9 III I II (II III)x2 III II III II II (II III)x3 I I I II II III (II)x5 (II III)x2 III III (II)x4 I I II II III (II)xS III II I I II (III)x2 (II III)x2 III II (III)x2 The following principles maybe established: (a) It is not possible to go fromI to III without passing through II. (b) I mayfollowitselfbetween two andninetimes. (c) The syntagm II III maybe reiterated two or threetimesbeforethe return to I or II. 3. Harmonic poietics Thefirstpartof Varese's textstates clearly thatperforming a monodic analysis is not enough to givean account of thispiece.An harmonic analysis hasnot beenincluded in the 'neutral' partof outstudybecause there is already onein existence: thiswillbeexamined below.Theharmonic description of 'Density' belongs as muchto the neutral levelas doesmelodico-rhythmic description. 'Neutral' implies,as I havesaidelsewhere (1975),'neutralisation', sinceit is not trueto say thatmelodyandharmony shouldbe analysed together: this leadsto neglecting aspects whicharestrictly melodic or strictly harmonic. In saying thatthe unfolding of melody followsthe harmonic planandmakesit explicit, Varese indicates clearly thatthepoietic analysis consists of showing, on the basis of two neutralanalyses melodicand harmonic, how the monodic unfolding givesthe harmonic structure its form. The complete textof Marc Wilkinson's harmonic analysis (1957:17-18)is set outbelow,interspersed withcomments andcritical remarks. I wouldlike to say straightawaythat I considerthis text quite remarkable, and the pernickety nature of my comments is due onlyto the explicit perspective I havechosenhere.Wilkinson writes:

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on the harmonicand melodic structure,for the eleI shall concentrate ments of rhythm and dynamicsserve mainly to define harmonicareas, problematic. phrases,and motivicelements,and they arenot particularly

aspect of a workis whena specific of whathappens Thisis a goodexample as status:otherelementsare takenas reador presented given privileged that interestin I believethat I have shown,on the contrary, secondary. of other neutralisation rhythmfor its own sake (that is, the provisional to rhythm andcontriwhicharepeculiar showsup characteristics variables) of the piece. buteto the globalorganisation
The first phrase(bars 1-17) is composedmelodicallyand harmonically aroundthe notes E, C#, G. This relationof minorthirdsto a centralnote elementon which the whole piece is built. (E-C#, E-G) is the harmonic (withE as of this relationship Bars1-5 arethe firstand simpleststatement to the harmony,thoughby choosingto centre);F and F# are ornamental minorthirdsVarese the higherof the two structural fill in chromatically prefiguresthe upwardsweep of the melodic line throughoutthe piece. and clarifiesthe The little cadenceE-C#-G in bar S merelyrecapitulates harmonicrelations.

showsverywell how the ambitC#-G is filled description The author's onlyin b. 5. It by F andFt, thenby the E whichintervenes progressively, for its that the lengthof the E is partlyresponsible mightbe emphasised curve importance. It is not possibleto speakof an ascending harmonic butit anddescent, thepiece',sincetherearezonesof stagnation 'throughout of the of themonody G. Myanalysis is trueto saythatF andF: leantowards realise processes andmelodic showshowthe rhythmic firstfive barsclearly text, and thus how the poietic to Varese's plan, according the harmonic for each analyses of neutral analysis is the resulthere of the combination on bs S8 andcontinues: delayscomment Wilkinson separate parameter.
are 'area' of the harmonic Bars9-17 aremorecomplex,for two statements notesaredefined into one, thoughin bars12-13 the ambivalent telescoped The first harmonicsphereis centredaroundC#; by octavetransference. the minorthirdrelationsare tracedin the notes C#< (bars9-10) to Bb (bar 13). The (bar 13), and in the notes C#-D-D# (bars 11-12) to EW form in a melodicandharmonic secondsphere,centredon G, is presented only at the end of the phrase(bar17). for the G appears of retrogradation, The two minor thirds are built with the (G)-G#-A-Bb in bars 12-13 roleof octavedoublingin makingthismotionclear), (noticethe important and with the notes E - F- F#- (G) in bars 15-16. The D# in these last two barsis held overfromthe othersphere(bar12)andresolvesto the EQ in bar 16. However, by the subtle use of phrasemarkings(such as the breathbeforethe F# in bar 16), Varesesuggestswith this D# a new minor third relation(DtF#) as a secondaryharmonicEleld.Meanwhilethe of E# and F# (bar 16), and the long durationvalues, octavetransference define a cadenceto G in bar 17. BarsS8 link the two mainsectionsof the phrase.The musicalmaterial

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emergesby elision from the cadencein bar S; the uppernote G becomes the lower note of a new minor third relation(G-A-Bb). This process repeatsitself by a simplesequenceupward(Bb-Ceelisionto C# in bar9). The rhythmand the dynamicsstrengthen this feelingof motionby minor thirds.

All of this analysis deserves attentive study.I haveno objection to the account of bs S9. Wilkinson is explaining, in harmonic terms,theprinciple of deceptionwhich delaysthe arrivalof Db, which I have emphasised throughout the piece.Onewonders simply whether it is possible to continue fromb. 6, to base harmonic explanation on a centralnote framedby an ascending anda descending minor third,astheposition of E in b. 5 appears to imply.Forbs 6-, Wilkinson doesnot refute it andthisis doubtless whyhe makesthis passage a linkingzone betweenthe two main sectionsof the phrase; but the explanatory principle returns in b. 9. The author's ideais as follows: between bs 9 and 17 therearetwo intertwined harmonic centres. The firstis Db, the second,delayed untilb. 17, is G. The descending minorthirdfromDb explains the Bb of b. 13 and the ascending minorthird accounts for E of the same bar. This Bb can be explained evenby G of b. 17:thisascending minorthirdis filledout by G: andA of bs 11-13;the E of b. 13is a minor thirdbelowG, filledout by the F#'sof bs 15-16.There remains theexplanation of D: in bs 12and15:it is an appoggiatura to E, but its privileged positionin b. 12 defines,with F# (doubtless the F# of bs 16 and 17),a secondary harmonic field. I find this explanation a littlecomplex, particularly because it establishes linksbetween noteswhicharepretty farapart on thesyntagm. Is it notrather contrived to go to b. 13to finda Bb to forma minor thirdwithDb when,as Wilkinson latersays,the Db of b. 9 is a minorthirdabovethe Bb of b. 8? Thesedifficulties canbe avoided byexplaining bs S17 astheexpansion of the twothirdsfromthe firstfive bars: E>c.39
bS 1-5
,

bS 6-9

, bS 9-17

Coming backto theprinciple of sliding by semitones (usedforthemonodic analysis), the rhythmic andmelodic movement emphasises notesof harmonic importance: thiswasseenin thefirstfivebarsandis confirmed by thelength of Bb in bs S7, theplayon Db in bs 9-10 (Cbeingits appoggiatura) andthe position andduration of E (bs 13-14)andG (b. 17).Giventhisframework, Varese effectssuccessive semitonal slidesfromG-Db untilhe arrives once againat Bb-E:

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VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5':A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS Ex.40


bs 6-10

rP
t

w
bs 11-12

bo bo
,

do
.

v. ,
,

b. 12
.

..

#
7

a.

This explanation has the advantage, in my opinion,of showinghow the harmonic fieldfits,in accordarsce witha chromatic displacement shown up by mymonodic analysis, intothetritone ambit prepared fromb. 2, confirmed in b. 5 andreaffirmed in bs 11-13.Thetritone culminates atthesame timeasthe firststageof the melodic progression. Bs 15-17 are cast in the intervalof a minorthird, E-G. If harmonic explanation is required here,the D# mustbe madean appoggiatura to E (b. 16)andF andF: considered elements whichfill outthethird; in as muchas this 'phrase'(bs 15-17) ends on G like the first section(bs 1-5), it is interesting thatthesetwonoteshavethesamefunction. Resuming theideaof a secondary harmonic field(D:-Ft) the F wouldbe interpreted, taking into account themelodico-rhythmic unfolding, asa suspension of F# which would itselfappear, assoonasit is heard, to bea leading-note, orappoggiatura, to G. The interval of a tone betweenD: and F seemsaboveall to prepare that between E: (thrown intoreliefby a breath) andG. My explanatory hypothesis of slidingsemitones is all the moreacceptable sinceWilkinson hasrecourse to it to explain whatfollows:
Varesehas now established the notes E C$G as centresfor bothmelodic and harmonicactivity, and has consistentlyenlargedthe overallsound areawhich this firstphrasecovers(the octavetransference also servesthis purpose,of course).But in doingthis, he has automatically touchedupon Bb as a centre(sinceBb is a minorthirddistantfromboth C# and G). He does not use this note as a centre in the way we have alreadyseen, however,but instead builds harmonicspheresfrom note centresplaced symmetrically a minor second above or below Bb (on the notes BW and AQ),againusing all the intervalsof the minorthirdwhichcan be derived (B-D, B-G# and A-C, A-F#).

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NATTIEZ JEAN-JACQUES

of a minorthirdfromCt, for I shouldprefernot to invokethe distance by minorthirds): fromG (expansion givenabove,but rather reasons
Ex.41 X

1, bo t..
">

a
bS 1B-23 _ "_

(t,
Q
"t

t_

"

areas,and one harmonic Bars 18-23 establishthe first of these secondary in the first avoidedsoundingthe note BW noticesthatVaresehas carefully phrase,to preparethis entry.

the whichexplain criteria and syntagmatic Note herethatit is the melodic slide,andnot the reverse. centreandsemitonal harmonic
Bars18-19 outlineB-G$; bars2(}21 outlineB-D, andbars22-23 resolve with CtE in to Bb (or A#) whichconnects,by a minorthirdrelationship, of the BWin bar 23 an octave higher the next bar. The transference it from the body of the precedingpassage,or ratherrelatesit separates only with the B$C$DW in the sameregister(bars2(}21).

is the score.In as muchas Varese in interpreting Herethereis a problem (for wheretheycouldbe ambiguous explicit to makethe accidentals careful thathe is following to imagine the Au of b. 19),it seemsdifficult example thefirstB does before andthattheaccidental of notation conventions classical withnotes theanalogy B in b. 23. If B# is retained, to thetriplet notalsoapply does, as I have in b. 20 worksevenbetter,andVarese of the sameregister its predecesabove by a notea semitone segment liketo enda melodic shown, of theG#andD of bs 25-28 explanation Wilkinson's sors.Onthishypothesis, B of bs 18-22: to thedoIxiinant in relaiion of its posiiion valid,because remains
in bars 2F28 a new (and now Startingfrom this B, Varesejuxtaposes inverted)areaB-D-G: with a returnof the Ct-E relation,derivedfrom the first five bars.

as follows: is represented explanation Wilkinson's Ex.42


bs

18-23

b. 23

bS 24-25

bS 25-28

($A"

A o t0

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ANALYSIS 'DENSITY21.5': A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL VARESE'S

since,if ashe pleases rather withthethirds playsaround Notethattheauthor of theambitD-G# (bs25-28)andin thiswayconforms is thecentre B really forbs 1-5, 9-17 and 18-21,the thirdC#-E is, on sustained to the principle a around of thirds howthecriterion theA#. Thisshows hand,above theother (already thirds of superposed withthatof theexpansion alternates pivot-note usedin bs S9).
relatedto the to noticethatthe firstD (bar25) is obviously It is interesting B in 23, that the D in bar 26 is relatedboth to this B and to the C: (the rhythmicexpressionhere is important),and the D in 27 to C: only while the G: completesthe B-D-G: (becauseof octave transference); fillingin andthe chromatic relation,andfinally,in bar28 both D's appear of CtE is completedwith an Eb. This Eb also links the passagewith the next, for it is relatedto the F: at the end of the firstphrase(bars15-16). centre.The Eb serves,too, as a leadingnote Bothresolveto G as harmonic to the E of the G-SBb harmonicareawhich follows. Moreover,it has an octaveup, and out of its normalregister,becauseit is been transferred to influencethe harmonicmotiona little lateron (see bars3640).

of moments withother If theideaof Ebfillingin C#-E (b. 28)is consistent (bs 1-5, 15-17), it does not, however,have quite the same the analysis since Eb is heardthreebarsafterthe last C#-E and one octave meaning, it seems this.Finally, theneedto justify feels,moreover, higher Wilkinson thatthesetwo a linkwiththe F# of b. 16on thepretext to establish difficult of a atthatpoint(eventhen,onlybythehypothesis together noteswerelinked field). harmonic secondary theE-C# of theopening, takes Onthebasisof theideathatin b. 24 Varese thirds of minor theexpansion after maybe advanced: hypothesis thefollowing bars,then the slidingto B which the first seventeen whichcharacterised G of b. 17 andB of b. 18, the thirdbetween we note, a major introduces, fromthefirstthirdof thepiece, starting a newchainof thirds, takes composer thelastnoteof above third.TheEbis thusa semitone a major butintroducing as areB# aboveB, G aboveF#, E aboveD# andDb aboveC: the passage, Ei.43
bS1-17

sm b

j-

bo bo
bS 18-23 \
$

10

X-

b -

to

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'S_

JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ

Notethatif oneallows a B# atb. 23, it is possible, in Wilkinson's perspective, to seea relationship between thisnoteandtheEbof b. 28, bothfinalnotesof a phrase.
Bars 29-31 are particularly interesting,for the harmonicareasfluctuate and resolve in a most complex manner. The basic area is G-LBb, suggestedin the high and middleregistersof bars29-30. They are stated completely in the low registerafterthe octavetransference of the Gb (bars 3(}31).

I prefer to takethe morestraightforward basisof the E andBb of b. 31 to establish thezoneE-G-Bb, sinceit is notclear whatmightsuggest thesetwo notesin bs 29-30.
The middleregister,whilehelpingto bringaboutthis octavetransference, alsooutlinesan harmonic motionby sequenceof minorthirds(see also barsS8), fromE: by wayof F: (bars29-30) to G: (bar31), andfromG: to B4 with the A4 transferred an octavehigherto completethe minorthird relation(FtA) begunwith the firsttwonotesof bar29. It is worthnoting how this is impliedin the low register,at the beginning of bar31, by the melodicarrangement andphrasemarkings. It is the firstentryof this secondary harmonic area(A-Ft, A<).

Theobjective of thisdevelopment is to explain GSB andA of bs 31-32which areoutside the zoneG-E-Bb. In order to do this,a certain importance must be givento E# andF# of bs 29 and30. Obviously, it is theinsistence of F#-A of bs 32-35whichjustifies the privileged extraction of thesetwo notesin b. 31. The overall explanation is as follows:
Ex.44
bS 29-31

i
' b.29'

o t
\

bo
b. 31

b. 29

b. 31

>

40

\
bS 32-364

It mightbe noticed thatthezoneG-E-Bb fitsintotheprolongation of the stacked thirds fromtheopening, if thelatter hadnotdeviated towards B in b. 18. As to G#-B-A which ends this passage,the explanation by play of semitones is preferred to the rather far-fetched relationship withE: andFt,
314
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A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

as the developmentalprocess of this flight is entirely comparableto the tritonalslides in bs 11-13, unless this passageis seen as sketchingan alternationbetweenE-G-Bb and G:-BD as possibleprolongations beyondE of the stackedthirdsof the first seventeenbars:
Ex. 45
bS 1-5 bS 6-9 bS 9-17

' bo bo 44 n

\
\ bS 17-23

=1$o
bS 23-28

# o
bS 29-31

(,3

b-

O bo
\

o
l

ho t0 t o

b.32

4"
In this lasthypothesis,the permutation zone of bs 32-36, then the (; Eb of bs 3S38, and the D of b. 38 to the returnof B in b. 40, are explainedthus: Ex.46
bS 29-31

t0
S 00

bo
q (

bs 32-36

102v
"s

"
bS 36-3B "s

"s

S{w

b5 3 B -40

o b.

b to
v

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NATTIEZ JEAN-JACQUES

different: is somewhat for thiswholepassage explanation Wilkinson's


of the new A-F: polarity, in Bars 32-35 offer a rhythmicelaboration centre,B. In bar36, C completesthe established relationto the already new area, and the following passage (bars 3640) relates the interval polaritySEb, in a similarway, to B. This Eb is derivedfromthe Eb as leading-notein bar 28; the weakeningdynamics, the unusual octave which makesa majorsixth of a minorthird, and the resolutransference to its own sphereat this moment,are tion, in bar40, on to a B unrelated all intendedto lessen the impulseand to keep the harmonyfloating.

the Eb of to the Ebof b. 28 to justify returns whyWilkinson Onewonders thirdwithC, in the minor of a literal it in terms b. 37, whenhe couldexplain thefactthatthe actual to A, ignoring C in relation samewaythathe explains majorsixth.Note thatthe D of bs 38-40 is interis a descending interval withrests. spersed
(bar43) and in bars4145 areclear,but the low DW The G-E-Bb relations importantAb (bar44) weakenthis sphere,while being the rhythmically connectedbelatedlywith the B4 of bar40. C: actsas a leadingnote to the the B-D relation. next passage(bars4649), whichdevelopsrhythmically

of the pattern the low register towards D maybe the resultof a broadening to be pattern theintervallic all, Ex. 35 shows E#-G-E of bs 3s3 1. Butabove Thisis one Ab intothe analysis. the sameas in bs 3 and4, whichintegrates to resortto an autonomous point amongothers whereit is necessary to explainone note. If C# reallyis a leadingnote to the melodicanalysis thirdrelationit bya minor us fromexplaining prevents D, nothing following developthe melodic of expansion: to the principle shipwithBb according of thepieceareshown withthe beginning mentof bs 4145, whoseanalogies fromthelowest, thirds,starting by a stackof minor is thusreinforced above, slide(Cl D) to thatseenin bs 1-9. Notethatthesemitonal is identical which zone,G#-B-D: takesus intothe second
Ex.47
bS 1-9

O
bs 41-45

bo b

b0

bS 46-SO

ro 40<
B-D: of the relationship development Afterthe rhythmic
(=D, KG:), as The Ab in bar 50 is connectedwith this intervalrelation

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VARESE'S 'DENSITY21.5:

A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

was the C with A4-F# in bar 36; but the Ab resolvesto AW and GW (bar 51). A becomespartof the A-F$ A-C relationin the high register(bars 51-55) andG is relatedto the E-Ct, E-G spherein the low register.The transference of AWan octave higher in bar 55 underlinesthese relationships.The E: servesas a link betweenthe twoharmonic areas,sinceit belongsby intervalpolarityto the lowerregister,but is in fact transferred an octavehigher. It is worth noticingthe use Varesemakeshere of the sequential pattern(wholetone, semitone)of barsS8 for he now employs it to establishstronglyand for the last time the E<$G sphere (bars 53-55), instead of creatinga link between two areasby a sequenceof minorthirdpolarities.

This commentary may be represented thus:


Ex.48
bs 1-9

O
bS 4 6 5 0

bo bo
, , b.51
q +

bS 51-53

bS 53- 56

' bo n

The E# has been explained, melodically,by paradigmatic analogywith b. 29. It seems possible, once again,to join the two harmonic zones to those alreadyidentified: Ex.4s
O

$ot
X

s
' , ts
/
/

w t

The finalcadential phraseneutralizes the relations established duringthe piece and coversthe full rangeof registers.It becomesa resolution of all centresand all polarities,and dissolvesthe tendenciestowardharmonic motion.

This remarkis particularly interestingand goes well with the spirit of my

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NATTIEZ JEAN-JACQUES

fromthefactthatit is thefirsttimein thepiecethatVarese apart comments: 'totheleft'of thirdfromE in theprolongation useslowC, thisnoteis a major zone. Bb belongsto the firstzone, D and F# to the my secondharmonic second,C# to the firstandD#, E# andthe finalB to the second:
Es.50

bo4ffi} Obto <, b_ tl '>,


, 8 \ I

, AK .

,'' ,' X

'

' 1,

'

intotwodistinct divisions of harmonic neutralisation Thereis a conspicuous mixes the second of minorthirds; zones.The firstzoneis madeup entirely Eb and and E both it contains why explains which thirds, minor and major If zone. the first to a return effect would third major by a Eb beyond go whyto G# to the then to F, lead it would third a minor by zone2 wereprolonged axis harmonic WithC-E andD-F#, whatI defineas a second heard. already is divisible octave The minor? and of major is not 'pure'.Whythis mixture semitonal thirdsandintofourminorthirds.By introducing intothreemajor Varese thirds, minor and of thirds,mixingmajor slidesin the succession already notes on processwhich avoidstouching createsa developmental which principles in thispieceoneof his poietic he is applying Perhaps heard. spiral for a wish 'Varese's is saidto haveheardfromOdileVivier: Xenakis (1971: octave' scale,thatis, a cycleof fifthswhichwouldnotleadto a perfect of the move to B as a polarnote in b. 18 should 266). The explanation Varese here. Once the cycle of G is completed, be maintained doubtless fromG#. Andoncethezonesof G, higher, a newone,a semitone inaugurates alternawithrecourse thedevelopment he constructs thenB, areestablished, tivelyto one or the other. relieson explanation at harmonic thatmyattempt It willhavebeennoticed forbs S8 and by Wilkinson proposed by thirds of development theprinciple or ascending by descending of development 29-31;forall that,the principle Whythisexchange? hasnot beenexcluded. a pivot-note around minorthirds on this basedessentially explanation, It mustbe quiteclearthatWilkinson's the to assemble an attempt is, that mine: as hasthesamestatus lastprinciple, own My principle. common a around of phenomena number maximum
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'DENSITY21.5: VARESE'S

ANALYSIS A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL

Re-reading thespiral. datum: poietic to joinupwithanother attempts exegesis are incompletely, notes certain that noticed be it will in detail, thislastsection andthatthe dooris openforother intothisexplanation or badly,integrated hypotheses. point in anycase,howthepoietic I hopeit is clear, thissection Throughout its elements of some how also but analysis, neutral the of view reorganises theirrightto andthusretain in the poieticexplanation be integrated cannot existence. autonomous ANALYSIS VI- ESTHESIC problem esthesic 1. The depending to poietics, In the samewaythattherearetwomainapproaches or froma poietic fromthe workto the poietics one proceeds uponwhether in beclassified mayequally analysis atperceptual to thework,attempts datum fromthe as before,consistsof starting The first, inductive two categories. is pertinence to whicha perceptual outconfigurations textandpicking musical hypotheses: on the basisof esthesic accorded | work |
g

esthesics|

to what we that a given pictureof the workcorresponds It is supposed partof in thesecond Meyer by Leonard followed Thisis themethod perceive. Fay(1971). by Thomas article (1973)andin a stimulating Music Explaining esthesicdatum,thatis, a The othermethodwouldstartfroman external pageson the whichbearswitnessto perception-fromProust's document may strategies perceptual of his privileged aspects several by Vinteuil, sonata As in the case of on listeners. performed be deduced- or an experiment leadto the in this waywouldprobably practiced poietics,esthesicanalysis first,or would undertaken analysis of a neutral of someaspects modification ontothe work: be projected | work| or l | < | j esthesicdata

level | ) | neutral of a validation couldbe considered analysis esthesic In oneway,experimental analysis. esthesic inductive esthesic therearefew, evenno convincing because All this is conditional by work of exception possible the (with whichtakethis direction analyses specialmore the concern these but 1981), (1979, and Imberty (1958) Frances
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319

mf

mf

JEAN-JACQUES NATTIEZ

ised sectorof musicalsemantics). It is doubtless because the experimental approach to works froma perceptual pointof viewis no morethanembryonic that,mostoften,musicanalyses whichareadvanced as perceptual operate in an lncuctlvemanner. Here,bothapproaches willbe considered. I feelthattheinterpretation of the workby a flautist constitutes a testimony to his or herperception of it. This standpoint may be contested. I haveoften been reproached for proposing 'score analysis', but the statuswe give to the scorein its musical realisation doesnotappear to havebeenclearly understood. In Western music,it seems absolutely obvious thatthescoreis thecomposer's means of pinning hiswork down;it alsoguarantees the identityof the workfromone performance to another. Thescore is, therefore, a symbolic factwhich is absolutely essential to its transmission. The performer maythusbe seenas playing anintermediary but decisiverole betweenthe writtenscore the traceof the composer's intentions andthelistener, andin thissenseis thefirstto perceive thework, that is, to makea seriesof choiceson the basisof the composer's text.32 Following an enquiry of thatkind,I shallexamine the analysis proposed by James Tenney,inductive thistime,whichhasalready beenreferred to in this study.
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2. Interpretation asanesthesic document Naturally, musical semiology doesnot pretend to tell a performer howhe mustplaya work.If it tookon a normative status it would be turning its back on its scientific intentions. Semiology cancomeonlypost festum to describe whathashappened andnotjustify it. Since thetechniques of theneutral level, whenapplied to a monody, defineunits, theirresult is notwithout interest for thedefinition of phrasing, above allwhenthereareno suchindications in the score.From thisperspective, I havecompared fourinterpretations of 'Density 21.5'which willbe called theZoller, Gazzelloni, Debost andCraft versions.33 I shalldraw attention to a fewpassages where differences between score and performer, or betweenperformers, are most apparent. Lettersdesignate precise pointsin the score. (1) [1] and[2]:
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(b) ZollerandDebostmakeF# of [2] seemlonger thanit shouldbe. (c) Debostmakesonlya lightbreak between the second C# andthe G. (2) [5] and[6]:
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Here,the samemusical fragment hasbeencopied fourtimeswiththe phrasing of eachperformer. Although all 'respect' [11],theirchoices thendiverge: DebostandCraft splitthe musicup according to [12]: Zoller,on the otherhand,isolates thesecond C of b. 10. As forbs 11 and 12, we may say that the four versionsillustrate all possible segmentations: Craftand Deboston D of b. 10, Gazzelloni on G#, Zolleron D of b. 11. This is a perfectillustration of the different weighting of variables sinceeachof thesechoices means attributing a specific valueto certain notes:in Craft andDebostthelengthof D in b. 10;in Gazzelloni, thisD is treated asa pivot-note around whichthe lowandhighG#'sturn;in Zoller it is, onthecontrary, theimportance givento the repetition of G#-D whichseemsto determine the phrasing. This particular sectionof research showsclearly how different partitionings of the neutrallevel describe potentialities of esthesic pertinence. (5) [24]: Withthe exception of Debost,whomakes a slightbreak between the loudB# of b. 20 andthe D of b. 21, thethreeotherflautists joinD to B# as if the slurfrombs 19-20wereprolonged untilb. 21. In making this passage one single segment, I have opted for the same interpretation. This is withoutdoubtbecauseof the trill (C#-B#) whichdemands to be followed by something, andalsobecause of the movefrom f to ff whichprolongs the crescendo begunon B. (6) [25]-[27]: Gazzelloni ignoresthe threeslurswhichled us to distinguish three units.Note that,on a higher level,as we haveseen,thesethreeunits forma whole,separated fromthe previous contextby a quaver rest andfromtheensuing context by change of register. Thehomogeneity of the passage is guaranteed alsoby the playon the samethreenotes: A, A#, B. We see, therefore, thateventhoughGazzelloni does not follow thescore to theletter(thefirsttwobarsshowclearly thatVarese is capable of indicating two levelsof phrasing if he wishes),he has optedto outlinelargesections (cf. his phrasing of bs 1n11 and 12) rather thansmallsegments. (7) [43]- [47]: Gazzelloni proceeds in the samewaywithbs 31-34.WhileCraft joins E of [43] to the legatoof [42], Gazzelloni, allowing himselfto be
322
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A STUDY IN SEMIOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

carried by melodic dynamics, beginsthe legatoof b. 43 on the E. In thesameway,[44]and[45]areincluded in a single phrase aswith[46] and[47],without undermining Varese's phrase-marks whicharespecificonlyin [45]and[47].Gazzelloni continues in thisveinin b. 54by joining the lastC of [75]to the slurof [76].Buton the otherhandC andE of [81]willbe separated fromthe preceding D andfrom[82]. Debostusesthe samegesture for [44]-[45] and[46]-[47]. (8) [38]: Alltheperformers play[38]like[40],thatis witha slurupto E$t. But whythenhasVarese taken thetrouble to establish, fromthispointof view,a difference between bs 29 and30? (9) [48]-[51]: Herethereis the sameproblem as in [11]-[16]: the absence of phrasing givesthe performers a certain freedom. Zoller includes [48]-[50] in a singlephrase. Debost,justlikeCraft, anticipates, from[50],the phrasing of [51]. Unlike thesetwo'ambiguous' passages, [64]-[69]areinterpreted in accordancewiththe partitioning proposed. The importance of D, restsandbreathing doubtlesscombineto suggestto the different performers a common solution. Within thislist,twotypesof comment maybediscerned: mistakes pureand simple,and divergences in interpretation on the basisof a matrix of possibilities opened up by thescore.It is difficult anddangerous to establish the boundary betweenthe two: Gazzelloni has his reasonsfor grouping [25]-[26]together, forexample, andhis interpretation in general reveals that sucha choicereflects an overall bias. In expressing my surprise concerning certainchoices,for examplethe identification of [38]and [40], I havealmostslipped fromdescriptive semiologyinto whatmightrightlybe calledmusiccriticism. But whichmusicologistcanreallyclaimto capture the 'spirit',the 'essence' of the work,for example the so-called principle of deception thatappears to me to be fundamental? Thenagain,the following presupposition wouldhaveto allowed: anyself-respecting interpretation mustreflect the composer's intentions. Influenced by the combination of New Criticism in literature and the creative renewal of theartistic avant-gardes, therehasappeared a newattitude whichallowsthatthe musical interpreter, like the critic,has a rightto free interpretationin everysenseof the word of the workshe tackles.But whereis the truth,if it doesin factexist?Arenot the choices in thismatter oriented forthe mostpartby the spiritandthe tastesof the time?Therewas littlenegative criticism whenBoulez 'renewed' theinterpretation of theSacre, turning it intosomething 'lessRussian' thanwouldanAnsermet or a Markevitch.On the otherhand,not everyone agrees withthe anti-romantic biasof Boulez's Parsifal.If semiology mustabstain frommaking judgements, it is not in the nameof a desirefor objectivity whichone mightdenegrate as 'positivist'. Semiological discourse, likethatof criticism andallhuman activMUSICANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

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ity, is itselfa symbolic factaccountable to a semiology. The neutral levelof analysis is thereonlyto facilitate the comprehension of musical phenomena andto provide a basisfor comparison. Critical judgements whichone mightbe tempted to makeon the basisof our analysis aboutone interpretation or another must also be tempered. Phrasing, the issuehere,is onlyoneaspect of thevariables whichplaya part in the performers' choices.Craft's versionis perhaps the most faithfulto Varese's text, andGazzelloni sometimes takessurprising liberties,34 but the latter interpretation is perhaps themostlivelyandlyrical by comparison with Craft's rather dullversion this saidsubjectively. Theseremarks callnot onlyfor a semiology of musiccriticism, but for a semiological studyof the variables at workin an interpretation; this study would constitute animportant linkin thechain of a methodology foresthesics whichhasstillto be elaborated. 3. Aninductive esthesic of'Density' It is fortunate that the composer and theoretician JamesTenneychose 'Density 21.5' as one of the worksanalysed in his article 'Temporal Gestalt Perception in Music'(1980).This title speaks for itselfregarding the orientationof the article.In addition,the authorsystematically compares his analysis withmy own.Therearetherefore tworeasons forexamining it here. Tenney's perceptual approach canbe summarised thus:Whenwe perceive a pieceof music,its temporal 'continuum' is dividedinto 'a hieratchically ordered network of sounds, motives, phrases, passages, sections, movements, etc.'. Tenneycallstheseperceptual units 'temporal Gestalt units'or 'TGs' (1980: 205).A detailed studyof allthetheoretical andmethodological implicationsof Tenney's diverse propositions would require anentire article. Forour purposes, the following aspects willbe retained: (1) His objective is to 'predict [myemphasis] wherethe TG boundaries willbeperceived' (:206).Thisreally is, then,aninductive step,starting fromhypotheses aboutmusical perception. (2) Tenney mainly takesthe following perceptual datum as a basis:'The perceptual formation of TGsat anyhierarchical levelis determined by a number of factors of cohesion andsegregation, themostimportant of whichareproximity andsimilarity' (:208). (3) Moreconcretely, andcalling on the ordinary experience of a listener, he considers thatin a monodic piecetemporal andpitch-class intervals whicharegreater thanthoseimmediately preceding orfollowing them create theTGboundaries (:208-9).To thesetwocriteria Tenney adds the roleof dynamics. (4) The modeltakesinto account neither'harmonic relations between pitchesor pitchclasses' nor'motivic/thematic relations' (:217). (5) The author is conscious of the factthateachvariable has a specific weight,but notesthe impossibility of providing an adequate measure
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of it: 'Wehaveno wayof knowing, a priori, therelative importance of oneparameter verSus another, in its effects on TG-formation. As yet, no clear principlehas been discovered for determining what the weights should be'(:211-12). Andherefers, notwithout reason, to the need for acousticpsycho-research. But his modelis dealtwith by computer. Explicitly, his method becomes algorhythmic. He hasthus hadto neutralise the problem of weightby simplytaking the sumof temporal, pitch-class anddynamic distances. The comments Tenneydevotesto his analysis andmine,andalso thetable where he compares ourtwosegmentations, arequoted below. Notethatcircled numbers in hisanalysis designate thenumber of each event(notesandrestsaredivided up individually):
The segmentation given by Nattiezfor this piece is shownin the lower portion of Ex. 55, so that a direct, point-by-point comparisoncan be made. Here the correlations betweenthe two partitionings arequite close especially at the clang- and sequence-levels althoughthe two are not identical,of course,and the similarities diminishat higherlevels. In fact, some 81%of the clang-initiations in our results,and 85%of the sequenceinitiations(but only 44% of the segment-initiations) coincide with the corresponding boundaries in Nattiez'ssegmentation. Thereareno coincidences at any higher level. Some of the discrepancies betweenthe two segmentationsare fairly trivial, as where one of two 'models' simply interpolatesan extra clang-breakbetween two otherwise coincident boundaries (as at elements8, 25, 54, 109, 117, 118, 140, 179, 224, 226, 233, and 241). A few differences resultfromthe fact thatNattiezdoes not prohibit one-componentTGs, as our model does. These occur in his segmentation in the form of 'one-element clangs'beginningat elements 109, 117, and 118, and as sequences containingonly a single clang, beginningat elements22, 52, 74, and 97. Even if we disregardsuch discrepancies as these, however,there will still remaina numberof placeswherethe two segmentations differ. Some of these probablyhave to do with the fact that neither harmonicnor motivicfactorsare consideredby our algorithm.For example,the highlevel TG-initiation which Nattiez locatesat element 188 is clearlydeterminedby the factthatthe initialmotivicideaof the piecesuddenlyreturns at this point, and a model which includedsome consideration of motivic relationsmight well yield a resulthere morelike Nattiez's.On the other hand, the strongelementof surprisethat this returnof the initialmotive evokes in my perceptionof the piece suggeststhat this motivicfactoris hereworkingverymuch 'against the grain'of most of the otherfactorsof TG-organization, and that an important partof the musicaleffect of this even in the piece dependson the fact that motiverecursat a pointwhich would not otherwisebe a high-levelboundary. After all of the foregoingreasonsfor the differencesbetweenthe two segmentations have been accountedfor, a few discrepancies will remain whichsuggestthatour weightings maynot be quite 'optimum' afterall, or that they are simplydifferentfrom those unconsciously assumedby NatMUSIC ANALYSIS1: 3, 1982

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tiez, or even thatsomeaspectof ouralgorithm mayneedrefining.Finally, however,I must say that I think our segmentation represents the perceptual 'facts' here more accurately than Nattiez's at certainpoints. These would include the clang-initiations at elements 13, 20, and 75, and the sequence-initiations (and perhapseven the segment-breaks) at 177 and 238 (Tenney1980:221).*
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I mustsaythatI think says:'Finally, Tenney Attheendof hiscommentary than heremoreaccurately 'facts' the perceptual represents oursegmentation points then Nattiez'sat certainpoints'(:221). It is the five contentious in detail.It must be by Tenneywhichwill now be examined enumerated account, to havetaken doesnotappear firstof all thatthe author emphasised the distinction particularly premises, of my methodological in his criticism, is not necessarily betweenthe neutraland the esthesic:my segmentation pertinent. to be esthesically supposed [4] and[6] inNattiez 13and20 in Tenney: (1and2) Elements I segmentations onlyoneof thetwoalternative retains Tenney Onhis graph, to notethat it is interesting Nevertheless (cf. Ex. 1, B above). haveproposed of Cit-Gareno less legitifor the segmentation criteria different Tenney's of thereturn notto register findit difficult mate.Ontheotherhand,I should in b. 4, in [5]. figureof the opening the melodico-rhythmic [24] inNattiez 75in Tenney: (3)Element major compound pointof view,theascending perceptual Fromanimmediate the slurwhich createa break.Nevertheless, thirdleapandthef obviously atthispoint, fortheexistence, anargument linksthetrillto B doesconstitute The the paradigm. of a unit. Ex. 17 shows,iough, howthis trillis outside to makeCit-B:-D with[28]couldalsobe invoked I haveindicated analogy demonshereof thesetwo analyses unit. The confrontation an independent on the respective factdepends as symbolic howanalysis unequivocally trates variables. weightgivento different [55] inNattiez 177in Tenney: (4)Element in our with regardto [55] bringsto light the difference The divergence sequence II. For with[54]and[56],to a larger [55]belongs, approaches. in the a unithigher of a segment, thisis thebeginning onthecontrary, Tenney, The contrast What justifiesthis strongpartitioning? hierarchy. author's the have'increased' ff andp and the lengthof the rest (crotchet) between It is herethatwe realise of variables. in thequantification of thebreak weight of weightof the quantification between no directrelation thereis doubtless boththerest despite thispassage, Throughout andrealperception. parameters of the same playon permutation change,is not Varese's and the dynamic of [54]-[56]? forthehomogeneity criterion notes(D- Eb-Db)the dominant to theinitial thereturn to missperceptively howis it possible Onthecontrary, thantherepetition ? Howcanthetworestsof thisunitbe stronger unitin [59] element59 is morecut off fromwhat of [60], to the extentthatTenney's weightings thatsuchoptimum 58?'It nowappears thanhis element precedes to reason every is There (:212). foreachpieceanalysed' different areslightly work. same the in another to thinktheyvaryfromonepoint
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[75] in Nattiez 238 in Tenney: (S)Element

E. a huge breakon the fortissimo lead him to establish Here, his criteria (4) point in as reasons same the for but of transition, [75]is a unit Certainly, ([71]-[74]) hencesegment it fromwhatprecedes to separate we areunable begunin highC to lowCi$: from fall the ends [75] since level higher at a I of the E#'sin [71],[73]and by the tension but alsoreinforced [72],delayed besides,the roleof the axis reveals, The paradigm [74](F enharmonically). to C a semitone in relation of C# function the then lower), EtE (a semitone the fourpreceding to [75] attaches thus which [74]) and [73] [72], ([71], higher units. Thereis no of approaches? fromthis confrontation Whatmaybe learned of the Buttheneutralisation areperceptual. criteria basic thatTenney's doubt relationships of motivic andthenon-consideration of variables weight relative pertinent as moreesthesically of his segmentation acceptance do not permit clarification, pointin common: havea crucial thanmine.Ourtwoapproaches takes Tenney question. epistemological on a no lessdecisive Buttheydiverge I feel it as a basis,whereas approach of the informational the 'objectivity' act, is a symbolic perceiving approach: to adopta semiological necessary The idea of a blockwith whichI began,less exactlylike musicanalysis. for the moreadequately but moresensible,turnsout to account rigorous a piece. of course the in of variables hierarchy the of character changeable nowon, themost From of thesymbolic. on theflexibility takes Paradigmatisation butto makethe by computer, out ananalysis thingis not to carry important whichmightbe possible others explicit notexcluding criteria analytical andof analysis. bothof perception character forthe symbolic whichaccount froma neutral starting possible, Still analysis? esthesic of aninductive What known better are strategies perceptual general once only analysis,but data the interpret to be able shall we way this in experimentation): (through adequately. more analysis fromthe neutral OFANALYSES VII- COMPARISON andesthesic forpoietic datum a fundamental levelis notsimply Theneutral it is activity, is, itself,a symbolic In as muchas musicanalysis approaches. of the samework.35 analyses different to compare crucial epistemologically It is levelto serveas a basisforthiscomparison? Whatrighthasthe neutral on the one handby its goalof procedures frommostcommon distinguished to look at thingsfroman a przorz or, moreexactly,its refusal exhaustivity intoits text handbytheintegration pointof view,andon theother privileged used;this hasthe of the method possible clarification of the mostsearching itselfwitha levelof methodologof theanalysis theresults effectof combining ontoit. thatmaybe projected icalmetalanguage the to classify it is possible pointof view, I believe Froma fairlygeneral in two categories: of 'Density' analyses
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(1) If the circumstances of composition36 andrealisation areset aside allthisis moretheconcern of musichistory thanof analysis commentaries aremostly 'synthetic' andoftenquiteshort.Onrecord sleeves, forexample, it is a question of grasping a fewcharacteristic traits of theworkwithout being able to go into detail:this is no reproach properly done, such notes presuppose a great dealof insight. In addition to thetextswhich accompanied the performances examined in the previous section,I shallreview the pages devoted to 'Density' by OdileVivier in herarticle 'Innovations instrumentales d'Edgard Varese' (1955:193)andin herbookon the composer (1973:11417),Halbreich's briefanalysis in theconversations of Varese andCharbonnier (1970:150-51), and the remarks by MiltonBabbitt in his article'Edgard Varese: A few Observations on his Music'(1966:18). In the contextof an 'analysis of analyses', thesetextsareof great interest because theyshowwhich particular traits havebeenprivileged in order to capture thedominant characteristics of 'Density'. (2) The othertypeof analysis is the kindof detailed studywhichfollows theworkstepby step,justas I havedonehere.Thistypeofpublished analysis is relatively rareforreasons givenat the beginning of thisstudy.Apart from Wilkinson's workalready quoted anddiscussed, there is onlyoneother article on the wholepiece:'Versuch an VareseDensity21.5' by MartinGumbel (1970). Thestudyof diverse commentaries provides ananswer to a question which is oftenasked: whatdoesananalysis in thesemiological perspective butone mightjustas wellsayanymusicanalysis whichis fairly precise tellus that we did not already know? This question thusconcerns the cognitive value of thistypeof approach. The analytical elements willbe classified according to somepointstackled by the different authors. (1)Melodic progression Vivier (1955:193and 1973:114):'It is a puremelody whichgrows around certain pivot-notes, castalternately in mirror chromaticisms andverydisfunct intervals'. ForHalbreich, the pivot-note of the opening is Ft: 'Everything is bornof the firstbars: theintervals broaden progressively eithersideof thepivotFi$:, soundmovingoff in questof its rightful pitch,andthenits dynamic level' (1970:151). When Viviertalks aboutmirrorchromaticisms, she is alludingto the inversions F-E-F: / Ft-G-F or B-At B / B:n:-Ci$:-B:n:. The words'very disfunct intervals' referto all that is not conjunct chromaticism. Thereis certainly a broadening of intervals, as Halbreich says,anda conquest of wider andwider spaces (highnotes; maximum range withtheintroduction of Cin b. 56). Thereis therefore nothing wrongin all that.The attribute of a precise taxonomic method,or, in Gumbel's case, of a statistical analysis this presents difficulties, but I shallreturn to the problem later is to showthe
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showall the paradigms In my analysis statements. of thesegeneral wherefore progresof melodic on [1],thatis, showtheprocess based thetransformations in use of showshow the progression (1970:37) a diagram sion;in Gumbel used. of the ranges to the evolution is parallel dynamics Thisis is bornof the firstbars'? that'everything Canit be said,however, of the initialmotive,but the true only on the basisof the developments thatnotallthe shows of thedevelopment clarification of systematic technique if taken phrase, whichHalbreich's unitsaretransitive, between relationships andprogfeelingof expansion an overall mightimply:he expresses literally, onemightaskwhytheinitial cell. Finally, fromthebasisof theinitial ression the tablesshow,on the contrary, shouldbe Ft: the paradigmatic pivot-note firstof Ct, thenG. importance is organised: how the progression In her book,Viviershowsspecifically structure,the skeleton,is composedof a chromatic 'The fundamental thanin greater by a longvalue,butwitha freedom underlined always ascent, (1973:114).Withthe aid of theselong descentof Octandre' the chromatic scale: chromatic the following reconstructs notes,the author 'prop' Ex.56

in a highregister 'butappears in thescale',shecontinues, 'G: is outof order Dt, theheldD; it alsoprepares after movement in anarpeggio andis repeated by a sforzando but emphasised onlyas a dottedcrotchet, whichis presented longerin the ear'. The and followedby a breath it thus reverberates she adds,'thenote in Octandre', onlyin b. 18. 'Already B appears missing felt'.Notethatthisprogresits absence makes sounds fromthetwelve missing givetheillusion sometimes analyses onlyup to b. 23. Short sionis described at Vivier of having particularly is not directed complaint this general while moment, animportant of thepiecein describing the 'essence' captured If, in a othermodesof progression. the worktakenas a wholepresents is Vivier'sanalysis text whichdoes not claimto be exhaustive, two-page of a general is symptomatic described it is becausethe passage adequate, is not quitethe to ascent.Note also thatthe 'scale'she proposes tendency to showthe she attempts by serialism, influenced sameas mine. Perhaps a kind of mixedscale: I haveproduced of twelvenotes, whereas presence up to b. 17. Ft, therefore, forbs 1-8 (G-A-Bb-C), thenchromatic diatonic havehadthestatus it, it would hadI inscribed in thebeginning: didnotfigure noteto G. or a leading of an appoggiatura, diversity (2)Rhythmic setshortnotesandlongheldnotes variety, of great values, 'Rhythmic Vivier:
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in opposition witheachother,making subtleuse of the triplets whichhave beenfalselycalled"irrational values" ' (1955:193;1973:115). Halbreich: 'What suppleness, whatvariety in rhythmic invention, brought to life by the verybreath of the life-pulse' (1970:151). Certainly, buttheimportant thingis to showhow.Therhythmic typology I haveproposed comesin to complete or to fill outVivier's comment on shorts andlongs.It hasbeenseenhowthepoietic pointof viewcouldassign a place to the triplets. (3)Processes ofvariation Babbitt:
Thereare, I believe,no two identicalmeasures in Density. The durational successionassociatedwith the attackpoints of the initial three pitches occurs,in the samemetricalorientation, only at two furtherplacesin the work,andat thoseplacesis associated with the openinginterval succession also, but the pitch successionis altered in each case by transposition (1966:18).

A precise remark, anda correct one, whichtaxonomic description completes fortherestof thepiece.In his article, Babbitt is concerned simply to capture Varese's stylistic tendency to diversity. He adds:
Varese is one of those composers . . . whose music has necessarily directedour attentionto the inadequacies of our analytical conceptswith regardto rhythm,by decreasing compositional rhythmicredundancy, by increasing the numberof rhythmicconfigurat ons, and the dimensions in which these configurations are made to appear(1966:19).

Hopefully, typological classification of rhythms hasaccounted essentially for thisrhythmic specificity, whicheludesthe usualanalytical techniques. (4)Register andthe'polyphonic' aspect ofthe piece Vivier: 'Theuseof thedifferent registers of thefluteis remarkable because theyarecombined withdifferent modesof intensity anddynamic levels.In certain passages the modeof attack andthe dynamic change on everynote. An echoeffect,or, moreprecisely, a feelingof expansion andreliefbetween distancedplanes is createdby changesof registerlinked to opposing dynamics: a highregister fortissimo is succeeded by a medium register piano subito, or again a medium-low register "enfle" forte is followed bya highnote, pianosubito, repeated threetimesafterornamentation. Several instruments seemto be answering one another, several instruments, not several flutes, sincecertain percussive effectsgo beyond the soundworldwhichwe might customarily haveexpected froma flute'(1955:193;1973:115). Halbreich: 'Withtheaidof thisunique instrument, Varese conquers a new sound space,combining oppositions of register, dynamics andagogics in such
332
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The oneanother. answering instruments of several a wayasto givetheillusion effectsof bs 2F28, often imitatedsince, open the way for a percussive (1970:151). to violinpizzicato' fluteequivalent genuine by is illustrated anddynamics registers between establishes ThelinkVivier of a dominant both the expression constitutes It therefore two examples. for study:it would and a hypothesis on the partof the analyst impression andthe of register (forthedefinition columns twoseparate to compare suffice table,in levels)whichwe wouldaddto ourgeneral of dynamic enumeration is correct. to verifyup to whatpointthis correlation order organisation (S)Formal thefirstgoesto b. 23, parts: intothree bookthepieceis divided In Vivier's the first elevensounds of B has completed that is until the appearance a use of keys)constitute by long values.Bs 2F28 (percussive introduced the returnto announce Then 'threeveryfast arpeggios interlude'. 'central withits moreandmoreascetic whichbecomes in a melody breathing normal in the (b. 41) brings of the initialelement reprise A modified wideintervals. in ascending disjunct,whichends its development finalpart, particularly (1973:115). tofortissimo' in a crescendo threeoctaves overnearly movement areseparated 'thefirsttwoof which therearethreeperiods, ForHalbreich, of bs 2X28. The second(bs 2940), interlude "percussive" by the strange to night,flamesof summons throwsout an unutterable exultant, intensely of despair.The third, a cumulative light rising againstthe temptations of the first two and synthesis,typicalof Varese,takes the quintessence of the extreme fortissimo in the upper onceagain,in a desperate culminates, (1970:151). register' divisioninto threepartsand on the agreeon the essenfial The authors with coincides section.My ownanalysis roleof the percussive intermediary theseviews. but subtlepointof view. His a quitedifferent presents MartinGumbel forthispieceand account cannot analysis is to showthattraditional objective aspect. 'The picks out a more fundamental approach that the statistical analytical the use of inadequate herewhether will not be addressed question analysis of an the result falsify quite or even iniluence determine, can metilods traditional the whether also ask might One 31). (1970: way' unreliable in an 31-32).Thisis (1970: is nota littlecontrived proposes Gumbel analysis formal he proposes: segmentation the overall

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Parts

Formal Bars
sections

Function

Overallform

Part I 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 a a1 b a1 b1 b1 1 2, 337 6, 1 9, 1 15, 1 19, 4 24, 1


0 Exposition Evolution, variation 5 Contrast transformation I Exposition Evolution,
* .

A Exposition

A Evolution
varlatlon

varlatlon

Contrast transformation ) B Contrast Transformation

Part II 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 a2 a2' b2 a3 a3' b3 29, 1 32, 3 36, 2 41, 4 46, 1 50, 3 53, 1 i Exposition(?) (?) Variation Evolution(?) (?) Transformation ) Exposition 5 (?) Variation (?)) Transformation A

A1' Evolution (?) Variation B1 j 5 Contrastand (?) 8 transformation

to the dividedinto three,according Gumbeldiscoversan expositionclassically pattern a-a'-b. The first large section of his Part 1 ends on C of b. 8: andthe chosen dependson the principleadoptedfor segmentation everything privilegedvariable.For me, the first five barsformeda whole becauseof the stagnationon G. Gumbelprivilegesthe returnof the initial motif in b. 9. What appears more difficult to sustain is the parallelismhe establishes between Parts 1-3 and F6 and for the entire piece between A-A-B and A'-A1'-Bl. The author'sbasis is essentiallythe returnsof the initialmotive. between As this is not supportedby a detailedanalysisof the relationships cannothave the same units, it is obvious that 'contrastand transformation'
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meaningfor b1andB or B1of sections6,7 and 14, etc. But he himselfdoubts the pertinenceof this segmentation (see the numerousquestionmarks).He considersthe pattern a-a'-b too simple and is not sure that the ostinato sequencesin bs 32-35 or bs 4g50 aretransformations of the openingmotivic material(1970: 32). Perhaps, in graftinga historicallydated patternonto 'Density', the authorhas taken a ratherfacile exampleto demonstrate the legitimacyof the stylisticapproach.This does not meanthat the latteris not pertinent,but the demonstration would have had more force if the segmentationhad respectedthe 'natural articulations' of the musicaltext. Moreover, Gumbel'sposition remainsambiguous:despite his misgivingsabout formal partitioning, he considers the divisioninto fourteenpartsas 'quitepracticable' and it is in relation to theunits thus defined that he proceedsto makea certain numberof statisticalcalculations. If the functionalscope of his partitioningand the more or less precise criteriawhich motivatedit are ignored, there remainsa framework whose legitimacymight be questioned:why, for example, does Part 5 cover bs 15-19?The rise to high G and the first appearance of B aretotallyneglected. It is also difficult to understand why Part 13 begins in the middle of b. 50. This is relativelyserious, since a statisticalcalculation,like every type of description,is alwaysrelativeto its given field. The partitioning in units is fundamental in thatit conditions the validityof all thatis saidaboutthe piece. The principle of Gumbel'sanalysisis, in itself, perfectlylegitimate:he draws up diagramsof the evolution of pitches, intervals, durationsand dynamicsto show the progressionof these parameters and the correlation betweenpitches, rangeand dynamics.His analysisshows 'a formof development . . . according to a differentiated and complexprocesswhichcannotbe reducedto letters or verbaldenominations' (1970: 38). In pointingout the difference betweenconventional systems (like serialism, whichVareserejected) and principles, Gumbel's analysis ties up with the words of Varese at a conferencein Princetonin 1959: 'Form is a result, the result of a process. Eachof my worksdetermines its own form . . . My musiccannotbe put into any traditional musical-box' (Charbonnier 1970: 85). We are now in a better position to evaluatethe scope of these different analyses.They are rarelywrongin any literalsense;they simplydo not have scientificstatus-nor do they claimthis becauseit wouldbe impossibleto reconstruct the work from their proposedcharacterisations.38 If the ideas of 'mirror chromaticisms' or 'verydisjunctintervals' areto be meaningful to the listener,the piece must alreadybe known. Whattaxonomic analysisprovides is not the overallconclusionswhich an intuitiveapproach might often enable us to pinpoint, but the wherefore of these conclusions. It is possiblethatwe havehereone of the semiological characteristics which distinguishes the differentmetalanguages of musicology: withoutdescription, conclusionsare like words deprivedof their referents.Becausethey are too general, these appraisalsbecome empty. This is why they are on record sleeves, or directed on a relativelysimple level, at music lovers who have

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personal knowledge of a piece. The 'known'work is the objectof such appraisals, whereas in anyscientific analysis thereferent is notthework asit is experienced, in amorphous form,but the workas it is organised, already distinctfromits immediate perception through characterisaiions whichare explicit at different levels. Mycritical observations do notseekto discredit theworkof anyone, butI am opposed to the mixture of genres,and, whileit maybe obviousthata studyis not addressed to record-buyers or interested music-lovers buyinga bookof information or to professional musicians, epistemology nevertheless has the right to a definition of the differences between'musico-graphic' commentary andrigorous analysis. Wehaveinsistently evaluated the levelof truth of thegeneral characterisations examined, andsincetruththere is, letus insiston the fact that they may very well mentionimportant factswhich escaped the taxonomic decomposition. In this sense,they mayofferhypotheseswhichare verifiable by systematic confrontation with the detailed analysis. The epistemological point of view adoptedhere, and the semiological perspective I have attempted to illustrate, do not therefore seek to make watertight divisions between different modes of analysis, butrather to suggest a framework whichspecifies theirrespective scopesandmerits.Whilethere maybe no unique andglorious roadto theattainment of musical knowledge, it is stilltrueto saythatthe description, classification anddistinction of the phenomena studied, likethetechniques usedto account forthem,allows the introduction of order andclarity where confusion mayreign.This,in theend, is the objective I am pursuing. I believethatits pedagogical valueis selfevident.
REFERENCES Babbitt,M., 1966:'Edgard Varese:a Few Observations on his Music',Perspectives of New Music,Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 14-22. Charbonnier, G., 1970:Entretiens avecEdgardVarese, Paris, Belfond. Deliege, C., 1975: 'Webern:Op. 10, No. 4; un theme d'analyseet de reflexion', Revuede musicologie, Vol. 61, No. 1, pp. 91-112. Fay, T., 1971: 'PerceivedHierarchic Structure in Languageand Music',3rournal of MusicTheory, Vol. 15, Nos 1-2, pp. 112-37. FrancesR., 1958:La perception de la musique, Paris, Vrin. Gardin,J.C., 1974:Les analyses de discours, Neuchatel,Delachauxet Niestle. Guertin, M., 1981: 'Differenceset similitudesdans les Preludes pour piano de Debussy',Revuede musique desuniversites canadiennes, No. 2, pp. 5S83. Gumbel, M., 1970: 'Versuchan VareseDensity 21.5', Zeitschrift fur MusiEtheorie, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 31-38. Halbreich,H., 1970: 'Etude de l'oeuvred'EdgardVarese',in Charbonnier, 1970, pp. 12147. Herndon,M., 1974:'Analysis: Herdingof SacredCows?',Ethnomusicology, Vol. 18, No. 2, pp. 21942.

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Imberty,M., 1970:'Polysemieet coherencedu languagemusical- I: La polysemie d'uneechelle dansles reponsesverbalesassocieesa la musiqueet la construction 1-2, pp. Nos 7, Vol. l'Art, de Sciences musicales', circulairedes expressivites 75-90. Paris, Dunod. la musique, 1979:Entendre Paris, Dunod. du temps, 1981:Les ecritures Paris, Hachette. Jolivet, H., 1973:Varese, in of Research of Music', TheCanadian3rournal Lidov, D., 1977:'Nattiez'sSemiotics Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 13-54. Semiotics, Chicago,UniversityofChicago. Meyer,L.B., 1973:ExplainingMusic, No. 17, en3reu, de la musique',Musique Molino,J., 1975:'Faitmusicalet semiologie pp. 3742. symbolique', 1982:'Un discoursn'est pas vrai ou faux, c'est une construction 8 & 15, 1982. January L'Opinion, Semiotica, de la semiologiefonctionnelle', Nattiez, J.-J., 1973:'Quelquesproblemes Vol.9.No.2,pp. 157-90. 1974a:'Sur les relationsentre sociologieet semiologiemusicales',International of Music,Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 61-75. andSociology Reviewof theAesthetics No. 35, September, 1974b:'Pourune definitionde la semiologie',Languages, pp. 3-14. Paris, 10/18(Englishtranslation de la musique, d'unese'miologie 1975:Fondements
. . \

n preparatlon).

du modele les problemesde la construction 1979: 'A propos de Schoenberg: Internationale of the Association poietiqueen semiologiemusicale',2nd Congress (Vienna,July 1-6), 'Actesdu Congres',to appear. de Se'miotique a quelquesreflexions musicale: de la poietiqueen semiologie 1982: 'Problemes du sonore, in L'atelier Parmegiani', de Bernard proposdu "De NaturaSonorum" Paris, Buchet-Chastel. L., 1973: 'Analysemusicaleetsemiologie: a Nattiez,J.-J. andHirbour-Paquette, en3reu,No. 10, pp. 4249. de Pelleas',Musique proposdu Prelude des analyses',Addressto 1st Congress Naud, G., 1979:'Pourune methoded'analyse Eco, Klinken(1974),in Chatman, de Semiotique Internationale of the Association The Hague, Mouton,pp. 1015-18. semiotique, berg, eds: Panorama en 3reu, de NomosAlpha',Musique d'une analysesemiologique 1975: 'Apercous No. 17, pp. 63-72. Paris, Seghers. Ouelette,F., 1966:EdgardVarese, Paris, Seuil. poe'sie, Ruwet, N., 1972:Langage,musique, International musicales', des pratiques fonctionelle Stefani,G., 1974:'Surl'approche of Music,Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 77-82. andSociology Reviewof Aesthetics dellaMusica,Palermo,Sellerio. alla Semiotica 1976:Introdazione of MusicTheory, in Music', Zournal GestaltPerception Tenney, J., 1980:'Temporal Vol. 24, No. 2, pp. 20541. by JoseAndre,La interview Varese,E., 1930:'E. Varesey la musicade vanguardia', Nacion, BuenosAires, April 20. Music', Trend,Vol. 2, No. 3, May-June, 1934: 'Vareseand Contemporary pp. 125 ff. 1970,pp. 83-86. Fullerversion at Princeton,in Charbonnier, 1959:Conference pp. 276-83. 59, Vol. 1, No. 5, September-October, in Liberte' Paris, Bourgois(in press). 1983:Ecrzts,

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Vivier, O., 1955: 'Innovationsinstrumentales d'EdgardVarese', Revue musicale, No. 226, pp. 188-96. 1973:Varese,Paris, Seuil. Wilkinson,M., 1957: 'An Introduction to the Music of EdgardVarese',TheScore, No. 19, pp. 5-18. Xenakis, I., 1971:FormalizedMusic, Bloomington, IndianaUniversity. NOTES 1. See, for example, Gilles Naud's article on NomosAlpha (1975) or Marcelle Guertin'sstudy of Debussy'sPre'ludes (1981). 2. Perhapslike the passing on of the teachingsof Oliver Messiaenand Nadia Boulanger, hardlyrecorded at all exceptin the memory of thosewho heardthem. 3. On semiologicaltripartitioncf. Nattiez (1974a, 1974b, 1975), Naud (1975), Molino(1975, 1982). 4. This analysis was the subjectof severalseminars in the M.Mus. Semiology course at MontrealUniversityin 1974. I thank all the students, the membersof the Groupe de Recherches en Se'miologie Musicale, especially GillesNaud who gaveme concretehelp at the beginningof this study, and colleaguesLouise HirbourPaquetteand JeanMolinofor criticalcommentswhich contributed to modifying the contentof this analysis.JamesTenney'sanalysispublishedin 1980, and the fruitfulconversations with him in June 1982, led me to extend SectionVI devoted to esthesic analysis which now containshis analysis. Following a suggestionby David Lidov(1977:44), I haveremoved fromthe text all reference to Pike'sdistinctionbetween'etic'and 'emic'units. It is not thatthesetermshave no place in musical semiology, simply that their presenceis, in this context, superfluous.These two words deserve, furthermore,a profound conceptual studywhichwill be undertaken elsewhere.The firsteditionof the presentstudy, in French,was partof a projectin semiological musicanalysissponsored by the Conseil desArtsdu Canada(No. S73-1826). 5. The scoreabovewill give an initialoverallview of the differentlevelsof segmentation. 6. The numeral3 below the last semiquaver of [1] indicatesthat it belongs to a triplet. 7. This is an exampleof the necessityunderlined by Ruwet(1972: 114)for performing an analysis bothfrombottomto top andfromtop to bottom.The presentation of the analysiscouldhavebegunby delineating segmentsI, II andIII on the basis of three criteria: (a) the similarityof the initialnotes of [1], [3] and [5], (b) the identicalfinal notes of [2], [4] and [6]: C#-G, and (c) the rest between[2] and [3]. 8. The 'short'and 'long'valuesin this paradigm can obviouslynot be put onto the same footingas the shortsand longs of Ex. 2. 9. This can be seen in characteristic fashionin the openingof Integrales (cf. Nattiez 1975: 285-97). One additionalcomment:in Fondements I advocateseriation, while this monograph is devotedto a singlework. The exampleof rhythmictype whichconcernsus hereclearlyshowshow one traitcannotbe considered peculiar to a single work unless the field of worksstudiedis widened.It is obviousthat here we have touchedon one of Varese'sstylistictraits.

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10. It is up to futureresearchto show whetherit is found elsewherein Varese. d'un by Boulez, of the Preludea l'apres-midi 11. Analysesof Le Sacredu Przntemps folkmonodiesby Erdely,andsee Nattiez 1975. fauneby Austinandof Hungarian 12. Discussion of analyses of the Prelude to Pelleas (Nattiez-Paquette1973), and Brahms'sIntermezzo, Debussy's Syrinx, beginning of Varese'sIntegrales Op. 119, No. 3 (Nattiez 1975). of musicalsemiologyand comparison 13. It is not my intentionto makea systematic attempt in analysis.We aretalkinghereof a hypothetical the use of the computer analysisof monodiesalone. All of this section II is found in the at automatic originaltext of my analysis(1975). Tenney'scomputeranalysisshowsevidently that it is possible to ask the machineto segment other than on the basis of saidhere explainswhy it But I believethat everything association. paradigmatic was impossible(or at least difficult)to integratethe recognitionof identicalor below, the ideas of analagousmotivic units into his model. See particularly, and mixture. block, amalgam,quasi-criteria made by Jean is a summaryof verbalobservations 14. The rest of this paragraph Molino(May 1974). 15. For example,dynamicscould be addedhere. of [13]and [1] isolates[13]from connection 16. On the otherhand, the paradigmatic [12]. 17. The sign + indicatesthat the intervalis compound. in favourof Deliege (1975:93), who considersthe 18. This is perhapsan argument intervalbut does not explainwhy. tritoneto be a chromatic is, in fact, characteristic in bs 57-59 this final'localisation' 19. Two exceptions: and at the join [37]-[38] in compoundform. Vivier 1973: 114. Cf. in particular 20. This fact has been noted by musicologists. quotedherein SectionVII. This is not fromVivierandHalbreich 21. Cf. the extracts the case for Tenney, whose model does not pick up motivicanalogies. 22. In numbersof semitones:bs 12-13: 6 6 6 12 1 3; b. 16: 1 1++; bs 31-32: 6 10 3 10;b.44:733;bs58-61:46447226. 23. More simply, one may say that sectionC ends with the descendingmovement A-F#-B while it had begun ([44]) by the ascendingmovementB - Ft A. 24. This processexplainswhy [55]is not dividedinto two unitsof two noteslike [57] and [58]. 25. Thatis, a unit of morethantwo noteswhichgoes fromthe longestto the shortest value. 26. This unit has not been describedas a flight because,unlikethe casesmentioned by a diminuendo. above, it is characterised principles,since the syntagmatic 27. Note that this table conformsto paradigmatic fromrightto left successionof all the types may be foundby readingeverything and from top to bottom. 28. Gino Stefani(1974:82) statedthathe took fromNattiez 1973the ideaof it being necessaryto go from the materialstudiedto the functionand not the contrary. LaterStefaniinsistedon the functionalaspectof analysis(1976). semantic hereas does Imbertywhenhe projects 29. We cometo the sameconclusion obtained experimentally,onto sound material:'The traits of characteristics, they for a givenfactor,although are,in the end, onlypertinent musicalstructures may be presentin others'(1970:92). matrix' 30. Althoughcouchedin differentterms,this is the ideaof the 'conventional

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expoundedby JeanMolinoas one of the elementsof poieticknowledge. 31. Varesewould doubtlessagree:'The role of creation,in everyart, is to reveala new world, but the creativeact itself escapesanalysis.The composeris no wiser thananyoneelse as to wherethe substanceof his workis comingfrom and it is only as a craftsman thathe can speakcoherently aboutit' (1959:283). But this is no reasonto ignoreor to dismissthe poieticdimensionof worksas semiological fact. It should simply be expectedthat poietic analysis(which, unlike neutral analysis,dealswith processesand not structures) will encounter specificdifficulties andaboveall will not resemble neutralanalysis,if only becauseof the gapsin its data. On this subjectsee Nattiez (1979) and (1982). 32. For more details on these problems see Nattiez (1975: Pt. 1, Ch. 5, and pp. 109-17). 33. Karlheinz Zoller,HMV, C 061-28950;Severino Gazzelloni, Virgo, 89836;Michel Debost,Angel,S-36786;RobertCraft(thenameof the flautistis not mentioned), Columbia, MG 31078. 34. For example, the two quaversof b. 13 are played as double-dottedquavers, influenced,it would seem, by the long-shortrhythmsof the previousbar. 35. I have alreadydevoteda systematicstudy to this type in the Preludeto Pelleas (Nattiez-Paquette 1973).An identicaltendencyis comingto light in othersectors of musicology(cf. Herndon1974). 36. For 'Density', see Ouelette(1966: 147-148) and Hilda Jolivet(1973: 109-11). 37. A figure after a commain Gumbel'stable indicatesthe division of the bar in crotchets. 38. On this epistemological criterionof analysis,cf. Gardin(1974: 107-14).

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